Column, Mountain Meditation

Mountain Meditation: Animal sightings and signs part 5


For decades every summer and fall I’ve admired the loon couple on Kent Pond from a distance through my husband’s binoculars. When we bought a kayak I was excited to discover what I see from the water. So I put in off Thundering Brook Road with my husband and neighbor who has two kayaks.

I was paddling towards the Mountain Meadows dock when a dragonfly alighted on my kayak. Its wings were translucent with blue-green iridescence. I held my breath for that magical moment. Dragonfly symbolizes transformation and re-birth. They are born in water and mature as flying insects. Dragonflies have existed for 300 million years (while we humans are newcomers—here for 2.8 million). Dragonfly spirit calls us to abandon illusions and masks we create in childhood as a way to protect and disguise our true self.

The dragonfly departed when a loon ruckus sounded across the Pond—the loudest I’ve ever heard. I looked for boats but none was near the direction of the loons’ SOS call. Then I spotted the culprit circling above—a bald eagle hunting for its family’s lunch. The loon’s cries ceased and peace prevailed once the eagle retreated to fish for its meal.

Eagle calls us to trust the guidance provided by our higher self and spirit, which is always encouraging and positive. Ego-driven impulses are discouraging and negative. Eagle also calls us to live in accordance with the natural laws of the universe.

I hugged the shoreline while trying to recognize places we’ve known from hiking for decades. I followed our friend Larry (a good Samaritan) who’d offered to help a young man in distress who was swimming and pulling his kayak to shore. Once safe, we paddled out ‘til the loons appeared, approaching them slowly, then we remained still.

Papa Loon called out half-heartedly, flapping his wings to give us a warning. Satisfied we weren’t a threat, he returned to fishing and feeding his chick. His mate concentrated on the other young one, diving and feeding her fish tidbits. The chicks were attempting to dive down too, but popped up quickly with their buoyant feathers. As we left, I heard a faint call. A chick was whispering a sound like “meow.”

A few days later I returned solo to the loons. The elders ignored me and continued to fish. One chick practiced diving, the other taking off, flapping her wings for a good dozen yards. Soon they’ll be able to fly and fish. I sat enchanted by the family of loons, thrilled by the blessing of being in their midst.

Loons swim and dive expertly due to their large, powerful webbed feet. They walk on land awkwardly so nests are built on the water’s edge, often on islands to be safer. For nearly a month they take turns incubating their 1-2 eggs laid 1-3 days apart. Loons live a lifespan of 20-30 years and return to their breeding home every year. During the winter they live on the sea without a nest and sleep while floating.

Our annual Kent Pond loon couple reminds us of the importance of family. Loon is a Sacred Messenger who enlightens and uplifts with joy and self-acceptance. Loon’s haunting calls and peaceful ways teach us to find solace in nature, dive deeply into our subconscious and connect with our higher self.

How will you choose to connect today? What will your message from nature be?

Marguerite Jill Dye is an artist and writer who divides her time between the Green Mountains of Vermont and Florida.

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