In Our Own Backyard...Waiting is such sweet agonySome of you are no doubt old enough to remember the days when boys were the ones to call girls...period. The lines of etiquette were pretty clearly drawn.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Some of you are no doubt old enough to remember the days when boys were the ones to call girls...period. The lines of etiquette were pretty clearly drawn. I still tease my sister about being the “wild one” in our family, because when we were both teenagers she would sometimes drive into town and call boys from a telephone booth, which she knew my parents would probably frown upon. I, being the “Goody Two-Shoes” that I was, would then proceed to tell on her. It only seemed fair at the time.
Today, it seems that more often than not it’s the girls who call the boys, though all of them are pretty much in constant contact with the advent of cell phones, instant messaging, email and social networking.
But I still remember those days of sitting by the phone, waiting for some boy I had my eye on to call. It was agonizing and brought with it a sense of hopelessness, as night after night sometimes went by without a single call coming in. And when it got to be Prom season, the waiting was more agonizing than at any other time, wondering if some boy would pop the big question and make my world worth living again.
I couldn’t help but think about that as I spied a lone loon out on our little lake last weekend swimming mournfully about, waiting for its mate to return for the summer. It had returned shortly after ice-out a couple of weeks ago, and since then it had been largely silent, as if in waiting for the momentous moment.
It was several days before I could get back out on the lake in my kayak, and I was relieved to see the loon as soon as I pushed off from shore, swimming in tight circles in the middle of the lake. Though loons reportedly mate for life, they migrate separately and research suggests that it’s not so much each other they love, but “home sweet home,” since they seek out the same nesting spot they utilized the year before.
As the solo loon cruised around the lake, I spotted another loon rocketing through the sky overhead at the fast-moving pace typical of the breed. The loon in the water immediately began to set up a clamor, and I suddenly had the romantic notion that I might be witnessing the very moment the other loon returned to the lake. I held my breath in anticipation. But what I thought was to be a nostalgic reunion turned out to be a series of aggressive calls and wing-flapping motions that had the territorial loon shagging the intruder out of its space and on a direct flight north and “outta there.”
I paddled my kayak down the length of the lake and had the opportunity to study the loon in the middle of the lake. It didn’t seem to spend much, if any, time feeding. Instead, it swam nervously around, dipping its beak in the water every now and then, preening its feathers and waiting. Every now and then, it would rise up in the water and flap its wings in a display of hopeful grandeur. It was then that the image of the lonely teenage girl, waiting for some clueless boy to call, cropped up in my mind....
I had circled nearly all the way around the lake, stealing glances every now and then at the nervous loon, when all of a sudden it set up a wild series of cries once again. It flexed its wings, and then it motored across the surface of the water in the ungainly fashion that loons do when they are attempting a takeoff. It kept up that motion nearly the length of the entire lake before it finally lifted up, circled the lake twice and then took off for points unknown beyond the treetops.
I grinned to myself as I wondered about its strange behavior, thinking perhaps its mate had sent along a text message....