Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey afterglow

After weeks of rather unsettled weather, Nature finally smiled upon the Adirondacks this weekend. In town, a few pockets of activity - generally related to Santa and all that he brings - do not diminish the deep quiet that has fallen over the lakes. At this time of year, few birds and even fewer boats traverse the water, so that the stillness of morning lasts longer now than at any other time of year. Those perfect watery reflections, sought after so often by photographers, become less fleeting, undisturbed for several hours after sunrise. The ground, too, has become hushed, able only to produce a mere rustle of leaves. It is easier to navigate the forest this time of year. Most plants have died back, leaving only the most nascent of evergreen saplings, and so one can walk freely without fear of trampling delicate lady ferns, hostas or blueberry plants.

This morning, the quiet was briefly interrupted by the unmistakeable call of a loon, which startled me. Generally, loons have vacated the area by now, seeking their own version of a beachfront condo. But this one, for reasons unknown to me, had remained. Perhaps it was just me, but his call seemed more drawn out and urgent during these most quiet days of the year. Not having to busy himself with worries of predators and boat propellers, he seemed all the more aware of his predicament. It's as if, having missed his flight with all of the other loons, he found himself unable to book another, his frequent flier miles no longer valid and his three-ounce bottles and plastic bag not up to the standards of the loon TSA. I suspect that he knows all this, that he is resigned to his fate. But at least he's not going quietly.

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