Thursday, July 5, 2012

DOUGLAS SENT ME A LOON

click photos to enlarge


Douglas lake was hot this morning.  The sun was unrelenting as I guided the state boat up Flat Creek in search of fishing boats.  I knew there would be none and that I was simply satisfying the schedule by being out here.  I increased the volume of water in the ice cooler by two additional quarts in preparation for the heat that I knew I would encounter.  I was on the water for three hours and had not seen one boat.  Pleasure boats were everywhere but, no fishermen.  Fishermen have common sense and they know when not to be on the water.  The "other" segment of water goers seem not to care and cast abandon to the extremely hot weather and boldly bare their chests to old Sol willingly.  I cruised over against the shoreline where a heavy stand of trees shaded the edge of the water and I beached the boat.  The sub I picked up from Subway would taste mighty good right now.   As usual, I thought about things in general as I looked around me at the intense greenery on the shoreline until finally my mind settled on what seems my favorite subject to ponder about.  That would be Douglas.  I have never stopped blaming myself for his pain and suffering.  If only I would have cranked the passenger window up half way he would still be with me.  That simple act would have saved his life.  I felt then I had let him down and I still feel that way.  It was my dereliction of duty to him that caused his death.  He trusted me with his life and I was lackadaisical in my attention to his safety.  I rarely mention his death or his demise.  I like to think of him leaving me to go on his private journey alone without me, as if it were his desire.  I'm hiding behind a lie.   I like to think of him travelling on a trail lined with flowers and his paws treading on soft, sandy earth.  He's no doubt a spirit now with unending strength and stamina.  He'll not know what its like to be tired ever again or feel the slightest pain.  Where will he travel and how long will the path be?  Where will it lead?  Above all - will I ever be able to find him when I follow?

A rainbow appears.  Could that be the bridge my golden son crossed to get to nirvana?  
Oh Douglas;  if this was the path you traveled then, you surely were guided by angels.  
I have always felt that Douglas had taken my heart and left only a beating replica of the real thing lodged in my chest.  I've never been affected by the death of a loved one more than the loss of him.  I think guilt is playing a large part in my inability to let him go and move on.  I dearly love Shade but, I find myself thinking of my precious golden boy when I hold and squeeze her.
I will find you sweet one.  No matter what it takes - I will find you.

The sandwich was almost gone.  I prepared to fire up the engine when I saw a bird on the water.  I thought it was a cormorant but it sat differently on the water.  It was a loon.  The most illusive bird in the world to photograph was mere feet from the side of the boat.  I had been trying for years to photograph a loon with only limited success.  This bird was posing.  It floated past toward the rear of the boat and actually looked directly at me.   Douglas has been on many boat rides with me while I attempted to capture a loon in the camera.  I pulled the Canon camera up to my face and fired away.
This was a remarkable moment.  The loon gazed directly at me and was only feet away.  He appeared unafraid and uniquely trusting.




The loon still showed no fright.  It simply swam quietly past the back of the boat and maintained a direction toward the deeper water of the lake.

What I had sought after for so many years and couldn't attain was offered up to me so casually it was unbelievable.  I looked down toward the ignition key and heard the soul piercing call of a loon.  When I turned all I could see was a swirl on the surface of the water.   Could it be a message from - him.  He hasn't forgotten me.  He sent this prize to me.
"It won't be long Douglas, golden son.  I'll be along.  Keep watch for me for soon we will be with each other again and we can explore a new world together."

It was time to leave the blistering heat of this lake.  I stood on the dock and gave a last glance at the spot where the loon appeared.   It was gone.  Was it a message from my boy, I wondered - an animal angel sent with a message to me.  I like to think it was.