July 23, 2010

Loon

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The loon is a mythic bird in Minnesota. Wood ducks float close to docks, accept bits of bread thrown from children's hands; Canadian geese walk single file down residential streets. But loons. They keep their distance. Occasionally you'll see them floating in the middle of a lake. Rarelyand magicallythey will pop up fifteen feet from your canoe and stare with their red eyes for a few moments before diving back into their solitary worlds. But what you can count on in Minnesotathe land that claims these creatures as its state birdis hearing them almost anytime you are on a quiet lake in the presence of the moon. And you'd never mistake it. Children don't ask their parents whose call that was. It's a sound that seems to rise out of the mist, even on a clear night. One that seems simultaneously desolate and binding and old. They are ghosts in a way, these birds. And you listen for them as you would movement in the backyard when you are home alone. 
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Video by FeistyMinnesotaGirl

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