the idea of balance is to be found in herons and loons

great blue heron


I heard a loon call on a TV ad and my body gave itself a quite voluntary shudder. As in the night in East Africa I heard the immense barking cough of a lion, so foreign and indifferent.

But the lion drifts away and the loon stays close, calling as she did in my childhood, in the cold rain a song that tells the world of men to keep its distance.

It isn’t the signal of another life for the reminder of anything except her call call: still, at this quiet point past midnight the rain is the same rain that fell so long ago and the moon says I’m seven years old again.

At the far ends of the lake where no one lives or visits — there are no roads to get there; you take the watercourse way, the quiet drip and drizzle of oars slight squeak oarlock, the bare feet can feel the cold water moves beneath the old wood boat.

At one end the lordly, great blue heron’s nest at the top of the white pine; at the other end the loons, just after daylight in a cream-colored mist, drifting with wails that begin as querulous, rising then into the spheres in volume, with lost or doomed angels imprisoned within their breasts.


Baba Jim Harrison the Beloved