Sunday, May 16, 2010 6:43am CDT

44 degrees   Clear  Calm
It is a stunning morning for the loons this morning.
There is not a ripple on the lake.  The entire lake is like a mirror reflecting the trees along the shore except for a couple spots where the rings from a fish jumping spread out across the surface of the water.
There is just enough of an early morning haze in the air.  Not enough to be called fog.  But just enough to add a certain mood to this perfect morning.
And the birds are in song and the frogs join them in singing the harmony.
On the loon nest sits one of our loons.  Looking around.  Taking it all in.  Relaxed but ever vigilant and looking every direction lest some unknown danger should sneak up on it.
The nest and the loon itself are perfectly reflected in the still surface of the lake.  It is such a relief to be free of the wind that has plagued the loons for so many days.
Somewhere the mate is out there.  But I do not see it right now.
There continues to be another pair of loons on the lake as well.  Yesterday I watched as there was a confrontation between 'our' loon and one of the others.  There were a few territorial yodels and then I saw one of the loons 'paddling' across the lake with its wings as fast as it could go.  The other loon dove and swam under water for a long way before it surfaced looking for the other loon which kept paddling with its wings.
But then the other loon is driven off and calm returns.
Even as I am writing these words, right now the loon who was so relaxed on the nest leaves and slides off the nest into the water.  No calling.  No seeming alarm.
But as I look out on the lake with the binoculars, I see our two loons swimming together a couple hundred feet out from the nest.  They have their heads held high so they are on alert.  But I do not see anything for them to be concerned about.  There are no boats nearby.  No eagle in the sky that I can see.
But then another loon surfaces near them....coming in from the east.  That is what they are concerned about.
There is still no calling.  Nothing to alert anyone that anything is going on.  Simply three loons keeping an eye on each other, circling and excitedly diving.
After about 5 minutes of this, the third loon disappears and the other two loons drift back toward the nest.  In another couple minutes, one of the loons gets back up on the nest, turns the eggs and settles down.  The mate swims off to do whatever loons do when they are off the nest.
And the familiar scene is loon faithfully on the nest.
This is the view that I see every time I come home and look down on the lake.  The silhouette of a loon sitting on the nest.  For one month, this is the view that lets me relax.  If that silhouette of the loon is not there, out come the binoculars to see where it is and why it is not on the nest.
But for this minute, peace has returned to the lake.
The birds continue to sing their hymns on a Sunday morning.  It almost makes one want to join them in songs of praise.   The frog choir has taken their seats and gone silent.
And the loon quietly surveys its territory from its throne on a Sunday morning that is picture perfect on a northern lake in Minnesota.
Can life get any better than this in an outdoor cathedral on a beautiful Sunday morning in the spring?!?!