The loon's story
Part 1 -
The bird seemed stranded in the sand one late afternoon. Couldn’t walk, couldn’t move. I thought it was injured, but it seemed completely comfortable and unperturbed. Someone (had asked a lifeguard – she was worried too) came up and explained to me that it was a loon ( I had only seen loons in Maine, the spotted kind) and this is just what they Did: ate tremendous amounts, rode the waves in, and hung out on the beach and digested until they were ready to go back. It didn’t make sense to me, but still I thought it seemed to be ok. I watched over it into the evening, and became the new official “explainer” to those who passed by and were struck by what seemed to be its plight. The next morning at dawn, I expected it to be gone, but it had moved up to the the very bottom of our stairs, as if it were waiting. I sat down nearby, and was able to get very very close. The bird had no fear at all. Soon, it started to move. A jerking crawling dragging motion, pitiful to see (see the trail....). But it was moving steadily towards the sea. When it got to the water, I thought the waves would bowl it over, but it dipped and vanished. Reappeared right behind the breakers on a swell, completely at home and graceful. Dipped under each wave. Rode the swells, preened its feathers: all was well. I watched it as it moved farther out until it was only a dot.
I have been coming to Nags Head since I was a child. I spend a lot of time on the beach and walking. I have never seen a bird like this, or this particular story spelled out before. It was remarkable, inspiring, and at this particular time, incredibly allegorical to me, and something I needed to know, to be assured of.
Nature is a wondrous thing.
The world works in mysterious ways.