Tuesday, June 11, 2013


This past weekend I was up on Great Pond in the Belgrade Lakes area.  This time of year the Loons are nesting and talking with each other.  I can never quite get a handle on whether these birds are nocturnal creatures or prefer sunlight; they seem to call to each all night long and yet are ever present on the surface of the lake during the day.

That call ... it always hits me in the solar plexus ... it stirs the imagination and, like the octave jumping of the wolf's moan, the loons song also speaks of wildness.  Unlike the mournful wah-hoo of the Mourning Dove or the sharp, static, conversations of the Crow, you must go to the quieter fresh water areas of our world to hear the Loon's song.

I have never had the gift of hearing a wolf cry into the night.  I know that it would raise the hair on the back of my neck as well as have me burst into a smile from ear to ear.  It's a sound I truly hope to hear some day before I leave this place.  But I have heard the yip and yowl of the coyote while on a cattle drive in Wyoming.  Being hearing impaired I'm never sure what range an animals voice will be in and whether I'll actually be able to hear it.  So, while on this cattle drive so many years ago, I had asked those with us that if they heard coyotes singing to let me know so I might focus all my attention to that one sound and grasp that bit of mountain wilderness.

One evening, while sitting around the nightly campfire, one of the wranglers came out of the darkness into the small circle of light and motioned to me to join him.  I jumped up and followed him into the blackness away from the fire.  The stars were brilliant above us with a tiny sliver of a moon just beginning to hang over the distant rounded shape of a mountain.  Buck looked at me and simply said, "listen" as he walked away.

Buck had a little black and white cattle dog, Lily, who was one of the most unfriendly dogs I have ever met.  She tolerated people but she had big boundaries.  If you walked too close to her she would lower her head and, like the rattler of the rattle snake, she would give a low menacing growl to warn you to back off.  You knew she meant it and you also knew that she would never back down, she always expected you to find a broader track around her!

So as I stood there this night, under that brilliant star-pricked sky with the sage brush dotting the landscape, I closed my eyes and turned towards the coyotes singing ... and I stood stalk still, willing that mournful, ancient howl to drift over that dry land to my compromised ears.  Just as I heard the first high carooning song I felt the lightest touch of little feet on my thigh.  I stood still, listening with my eyes closed to the yipping of a distant pack, fully aware that Lily was standing upright with her small front feet on my leg listening intently with me.  After many seconds I heard Buck in the distance say, "Well, I never!  Never saw her do that with anyone but me!"  I felt her little feet disappear from my leg and as I opened my eyes I watched her wiggle and wag her way over to Buck.

Buck looked at me and just shook his head with a big grin on his face, "not sure what you were doing but Lily was pretty attracted to it."  I'm not sure what I was doing either, accept trying to connect with my own wildness, trying to block out the campfire behind me with a small group of people gathered around it, who couldn't see the stars through that brighter fire light and who weren't needing to listen so intently for the song of the coyote.  Perhaps Lily was connecting to her wildness with me.  I don't know, but she went right back to being a little bitch who wanted nothing to do with me!

I'm getting ready to return to a wilder place than where I live now.  Ready to claim a larger piece of land and turn that earth into my own herb and vegetable garden and turn away from the GMO's that everyone is screaming about these days.  Ready to live where the Loons call, the coyotes yip and the stars offer enough light to see the trail without a single back porch lamp lighting the night.

Lobster Lake
I'm ready to join this man of mine whose wild heart matches my own and who has woken me in the middle of the night while in our tent and whispered, "listen" ... and I turn my full attention to that lonesome wail from across the lake.

Loving you all back,