One Scene at a Time

I should have known that a main character would team up with a partner. I also should have suspected that a good protagonist could only make a strong come back.

Yesterday afternoon my morning loon reappeared with baby and partner in tow.

I jumped to my feet, grabbed my binoculars, meanwhile asking everyone around for a camera or at least a phone.

“They are way too far!” my daughter said. She was lazily stretching on the bench in the gazebo, a glass of lemonade in one hand, a book opened on her lap.

“Totally agree,” her friend said. Same position on the same bench in the same gazebo.

“A picture won’t work,” my husband said. He had decided to spend the warm afternoon under the screened porch. I must say that he deserved the break after his early morning airport runs.

“I got it,” I said.

The binoculars were great to observe the loons, but based on my morning encounter I knew they could disappear without any warning.

On the other side I considered the possibility for the loons to enjoy the attention. In fact many people besides me stood on their docks, boarded their canoes and kayaks in hope to better capture the lovely scene.

How to describe, I thought with a sigh, such a perfect setting?

How to plot the gorgeous loons/characters’ next move?

The three birds, like stars oblivious to the rest of the world, glided with uncommon grace across the smooth glossy surface of the lake. The baby rode on one of the parents’ back. Since both male and female loon wear identical plumage it is impossible to distinguish them. The childless loon either swam ahead or behind, no doubt checking for the safety of the surroundings.

By then a couple of canoes had managed to approach the trio. The loons, in the manner of true protagonists, were living their own lives, unaware of the brewing trouble or deliberately ignoring it.

I, on the other hand, was getting impatient by the second. I wanted a picture! But could I trust the loons to stay while I would get my phone?

Just then a motorboat zoomed by. To the credit of the driver he had no idea that two loons had picked the exact center of the lake for an afternoon stroll with their youngster.

The water rippled behind the boat, and the loons responded to the change with their thrilling calls. The baby crouched closer to his parent’s body. The parents were now frantically calling, their heads darting from one side to the other. The driver of the motorboat must have heard or sensed that some kind of event was happening because he slowed down considerably. The loons were now furiously swimming away, no doubt to seek protection along the marshy and rocky shore. The man switched his motor off but it was too late.

I set my binoculars on the dock and sat in the exact way I had early that same day. The man on the boat wore a set of binoculars and a camera around his neck.


But he made no attempt to snap a shot at the three loons.

I would!

When the boat was closer to my dock, I caught the man shrug to no one in particular.

Like me, he had been part of a unique scene. Unlike me, he could have taken a picture of the three loons.

This is a question of perception, I realized.

Everything is, really.

Living the same moment doesn’t make us identical in our sensitivity. Our reactions are unique, the product of our experiences.

I died for a picture to illustrate this post.

The man opted against using his camera. Trusting his memory more than a snapshot or preferring the instant to its souvenir?

Where are the loons, anyway?

They must have reached the shore and once more had vanished from my sight.

“The loons were so close,” my daughter said from her bench when she saw me on my way to the cabin. “We could see them without those.” She pointed at the binoculars.

Great setting and characters will always create a vivid scene. But how we choose to see them will also always remain personal.

I stepped in the coolness of the cabin, caught my laptop and thought of all the work I have planned to do while here in Maine.

One scene at a time. That would be a good way to end a day.

I clicked on File and on Open Recent.


  1. […] summer I was lucky enough to follow the growth of a baby loon, here on our little pond in Maine. I became a little obsessed, triggering nice mockery from my […]

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