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CALL OF THE LOONS 2nd version
by Richard L. Provencher
6/24/2008 / Short Stories
The morning's stillness was broken by the strange, laughing call of a loon. It's long "Ah-who-ah-ha-ha" rang as echoes through the early mist.
Granddad and grandson crept to the edge of the water. He passed his binoculars to Colin.
His grandson was nervous as he focused on his target.
A fuzzy picture emerged at first. Then the dark outline of a loon showed itself bright and clear. Its head and neck were blackish with narrow patches of white on the throat.
It was really neat to observe how beautiful one of God's creatures could be.
Granddad said, "Loons usually live in pairs, with their own favorite lake." This place was now special for Colin too.
Both he and Granddad had planned this trip a week ago. It was supposed to be a fun trip. But it was hard to forget the sadness he felt in his heart.
It was not pleasant at home. Colin's mom and dad were having some family problems. Granddad knew a day trip might be just the right medicine for the little fellow.
It would also give Colin's mom and dad some private time to talk things over.
His eyes blurred as he looked through the binoculars. If only his parents were here to see this.
Colin knew the wonderful scene in front of him could bring peace to anyone. He wished with all his heart everything would be okay when he returned home.
The boy felt Granddad's arm across his shoulder. It was warm and comforting. "Look Colin," he said. "They're diving for small fish for breakfast."
Colin watched the loons remain underwater a long time before surfacing much further away.
He turned and gave the 'glasses' back to his Granddad. Then he walked a little way and leaned against a tree.
"How about some breakfast?" Granddad quietly asked.
Colin's thoughts were mixed up as he watched Granddad prepare the campfire. "Okay I guess," the boy said.
He decided to help a little, then a lot. Soon, the dark cloud left his thoughts. "Granddad, do loons ever fight?" Colin asked.
"I don't know," Granddad answered. "If they don't, I'm sure it's because they realize they are a family and have to share."
Colin wished all humans could be like that. Not fight, just share. And be happy.
"It's not possible for a perfect world," Granddad's voice interrupted.
"Well it's not fair. We should be doing things together. Just like the loons!" Colin shouted.
He thought about what Granddad said, that loons lay two eggs. And as they grow up, each parent looks after one of the young loons.
"To teach and protect them," granddad added.
After breakfast, Granddad and grandson cleaned up. Dishes washed, campground cleaned up and the fire put out. More wood was collected for a supper campfire.
Then, grandson and Granddad headed out for a little canoe trip. They removed shoes, socks and slipped bare feet into Deyarmond Lake.
They carried then pushed the canoe into deeper water before getting in. Colin's paddle thumped loudly on the thwart.
"Did I scare away the loons, Granddad?"
"No. They're resting somewhere right now, Colin. But we'll see them again tonight."
The day passed swiftly as their canoe moved easily from one inlet to another. Peanut butter and jam sandwiches, was their lunch. And of course, they didn't forget a container of fresh water.
During their trip they saw chipmunks, a porcupine, deer and many varieties of birds.
The Chick-a-Dee was Colin's favorite. Its piping call seemed to ask, "How do you like my land?"
Supper was a delicious meal of steak and beans. "I want tonight to be just perfect," Granddad, said. "Good food and a good time with my grandson."
"With lots of love," Colin added. The words sneaked right out of his mouth. "And no fighting," his lips whispered.
Colin thought about his mother and father. He wished they were with him, right now. He wanted his family to be spending fun times together.
Like the way it was right now with Granddad.
Maybe he should tell them about the way he felt inside. And how kind Granddad was to him. And the way the loons sent a neat shiver up and down Colin's back.
Maybe he should help more at home, with the dishes. And instead of complaining, help dad carry in the firewood.
When dad got grouchy, Colin promised himself not to growl back. Or slam his bedroom door when he was upset.
Colin wanted everyone to give each other another chance. Mom, dad and Colin were a family. They could be like the loons. They could work it out. Yes, they would.
It was easier to prepare before the evening sun set. They dressed in warm clothes, and put on mosquito repellant.
Granddad placed his finger on his lips as they walked quietly to the edge of the lake.
As they sat together on the log, Colin leaned on Granddad's shoulder. His head found a comfortable spot.
Granddad's arm circled his precious grandson.
Both sat silently not saying a word.
And then it came.
A trickle of sound crept across the water. An evening breeze moved quickly to carry it along.
More sounds built one upon another. The wind laid its breath upon the growing symphony. Then pushed it towards the man and boy, waiting eagerly.
They were not disappointed.
A pair of loons called one to another in playful chords. They seemed to understand they had an audience.
Sounds of peace and caring and melodic beauty crisscrossed the lake. And they were absorbed into a little boy's heart.
Colin's own song was one of love for his family. Like the loons he would bring back a message on how to work together.
Colin placed his hand on Granddad's shoulder.
And closing his eyes, listened to the loons.
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2008
Note: This is a second version of the same story already displayed on this site. It illustrates the fun of writing, where an author or authors may decide to re-write a story from a different angle, yet like both versions, as we do. Please enjoy, from Richard and Esther. It would be nice to see this story in picture book format with an E-book publisher one day.
Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
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