On a gloomy Memorial Day weekend the grandchildren insisted on going tubing at Brant Lake. The lake reflected the gray sky and a slight chop only increased the sense of chill that permeated this early summer day. Our pontoon boat bobbed gently at its mooring and, dressed in parkas, those of us who were spectators huddled on the boat’s leather seats. It was even too cold for our normal booze cruise bottle of wine and, since no one had brought hot coffee, we shivered as the boat backed out pulling three children on an inflated tube.
It was inevitable, as the boat created a turbulent wake, that one of the youngsters would roll off of the tube into the cold water. Whether this would be by accident or intentional remains to be seen, but perhaps that is part of the thrill of tubing–and cold water does not seem to bother the young.
The lake was devoid of any other boats. We were alone on a broad landscape of grey, as if a painter had thrown globs of gray paint at a canvas.
Then, suddenly, off to one side, a black and white head emerged from beneath the water and swam by our boat, not more than six feet away. A loon. A magnificent large loon, without a partner. Dusk was beginning to fall in the Adirondacks, enveloping only a boat and a loon.
Where was the loon’s partner? Or possibly the loon wished to be alone. Who knows the intentions of a loon?
We are emerging from a pandemic where many of us have been confined to isolation. Alone. Like the loon. But now that we can again socialize are there times when we seek the solitary? Is there a time we would prefer to dwell with ourselves? Like the loon we navigate the waters of life. Probably, we seek a balance between the company of others and our intentional privacy.
We enter life, and we withdraw. So life goes on.