In our own backyard.... There's simply no place like home

It all started with the loons. Year after year, each spring Ken and I wait with bated breath to see if and when our resident pair of loons will return to our little lake.

It all started with the loons. Year after year, each spring Ken and I wait with bated breath to see if and when our resident pair of loons will return to our little lake.

My husband recalled that the ice on the lake went out last year on April 19. This year - it went out a whole day later!

That very same afternoon, Ken reported hearing the wild, excited cries of the first returning loon. Though it has happened every year since we first moved to the lake, the return of "our" loons each spring is reason for rejoicing.

When you think about the amazingly long journey they've made, and the tremendous odds they face doing it, it seems nothing short of a miracle that they're here.

By Saturday, I couldn't resist heading down to the shoreline to scope things out and search the horizon of the lake for the loon. I spotted him or her right away - and then, joyfully, I spotted another one!


The two were swimming excitedly around in circles, dipping their bills in the water and performing a carefully choreographed routine of graceful, simultaneous dives.

It was almost as though (at least in human terms) they were catching up on all that had happened over the months they'd been apart.

I eagerly watched them for what seemed an eternity before I grudgingly turned back to the house.

That night, we had friends over for dinner and regaled them with the news of our returning loons. Having done considerable reading and study about loons, I explained that loon pairs don't actually migrate together when they leave our lakes every fall for the Gulf of Mexico or whatever other warm clime they inhabit.

Instead, they go their separate ways to their southern wintering areas and then individually make their way back to their summer nesting area.

"In other words," I explained, "it's not so much each other they love - but home, sweet home!"

"Come to think of it," grinned Ken, "I manage to find my way home every night, too - just like the loons!"

We all had a good chuckle, but it made me think about just how drawn we are, indeed, drawn to our home.


Only the day before, Ken and I had discussed what we wanted to do that night after work.

The temptation was to come straight home from work, have some dinner, and then flop down on the couch and watch the Twins.

"But it's Friday night!" I protested half-heartedly. "It seems like we should go out and do something...."

"Well," suggested Ken, "we could meet in town for dinner after work."

"Maybe we could stop by the mall so I can get my hair cut...." I added helpfully.

"I guess I could stop by the outdoor store and get my fishing license...." contributed Ken, getting into the spirit of things.

"And we really should stop by the grocery store and get the things we need for the dinner we're planning for the Millers on Saturday night!"

By then, we were flying high, and we headed off for work with a promise to meet in town at 5 p.m. and "take it from there....."


And that's just what we did. We had a nice dinner at one of our favorite little restaurants and then prepared to move on to one of our many other activities.

"Do you want to get your hair cut now while I go get my fishing license?" Ken queried.

"Oh, I don't really feel like getting my hair cut tonight," I replied. "Why don't we head to the grocery store instead?"

We were half way through the store, with our cart heaped high with groceries, when I yawned and said, "You know what? I wish we were home right now...."

"Me, too," admitted Ken.

And so, we eagerly checked out - and that's just where we headed.

It seemed the "call of the wild" simply couldn't hold a candle to "home, sweet home!"

Pine Journal Publisher Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: .

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