Monday, May 7, 2012 5:35am CDT

49 degrees F    Clear    Calm
Sunrise  5:52am     Sunset  8:27pm
Today promises that we will have a little bit of a break from the rain that has brought so much moisture over the last few days.
A clear sky and just a few ripples on the lake greet our loons this morning as the sun is about to rise.
Last night shortly before dark, I saw a single loon not too far from the nest as what was apparently 'our loons' swam together across the lake.
The single loon looked decidedly smaller but it was hard to tell for sure without them being close to each other.
It is unusual to see another loon in the territory without a response from the pair of loons.  So the questions continue.
And the wait for the loons to decide if it is time to lay an egg continues.
The loons were on the nest a number of times yesterday.  And the amount of time spent on the nest each time seems to be increasing along with increased nest building activity.  I am not sure when they did it but I just noticed yesterday that one small clump of iris is completely gone from the right side of the nest.  I have never seen a pair of loons do as much "excavating" as this pair are doing.
But so far, a lot of activity but no eggs.
So we wait.
While we wait, will you allow me the privilege of sharing something completely unrelated?
A few of you have commented on a small bird that has visited the nest several times.  Some have wondered if it is a sandpiper.  I do not know my other birds well enough to say definitively but that sounds as good as any other guess.
But hearing of and seeing that sandpiper on the nest, reminded me of a story I had heard many years ago but had not thought about for sometime.
It is called "The Sandpiper " and it summarizes so well what is really important in the 'busyness' of our lives.  I have seen it variously attributed to Robert Peterson or Ruth Peterson.  I hope you enjoy it but you may wish to have some tissues handy.

by Robert Peterson
She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. 

I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world 
begins to close in on me.  She was building a sand castle or something 
and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea. 
“Hello,” she said. 
I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. 
“I’m building,” she said. 
“I see that.  What is it?”  I asked, not really caring. 
“Oh, I don’t know, I just like the feel of sand.” 
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. 
A sandpiper glided by. 
“That’s a joy,” the child said. 
“It’s a what?” 
“It’s a joy.  My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.” 
The bird went gliding down the beach.  Good-bye joy, I muttered to
myself,  hello pain, and turned to walk on.  I was depressed, my life
seemed  completely out of balance.
“What’s your name?”  She wouldn’t give up. 
“Robert,” I answered.  “I’m Robert Peterson.” 
“Mine’s Wendy… I’m six.” 
“Hi, Wendy.” 
She giggled.  “You’re funny,” she said. 
In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. 
Her musical giggle followed me. 
“Come again, Mr. P,” she called.  “We’ll have another happy day..” 
The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, 
and an ailing mother.  The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out 
of the dishwater.  I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat. 
The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me.  The breeze was 
chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. 
“Hello, Mr. P,” she said.  “Do you want to play?”   

“What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance. 
“I don’t know.  You say.”    

“How about charades?”  I asked sarcastically.   

The tinkling laughter burst forth again.  “I don’t know what that is.” 
“Then let’s just walk.”

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. 

“Where do you live?” I asked.    

“Over there.”  She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. 
Strange, I thought, in winter.  

“Where do you go to school?”  

“I don’t go to school..  Mommy says we’re on vacation” 
She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was 
on other things.  When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. 
Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed. 
Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic  I was in no 
mood to even greet Wendy.  I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt 
like demanding she keep her child at home. 
“Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, “I’d 
rather be alone today.”  She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. 

“Why?” she asked.  

I turned to her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” and thought, 

My God, why was I saying this to a little child?   

“Oh,” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.” 

“Yes,” I said, “and yesterday and the day before and….. oh, go away!” 
“Did it hurt?” she inquired. 

“Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself. 

“When she died?” 

“Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself.  I strode off. 
A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there.

Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up 
to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door.  A drawn looking 
young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door. 
“Hello,” I said, “I’m Robert Peterson.  I missed your little girl today 
and wondered where she was.” 
“Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in.  Wendy spoke of you so much. 
I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you.  If she was a nuisance, 
please, accept my apologies.” 
“Not at all! she’s a delightful child.”  I said, suddenly realizing 
that I meant what I had just said. 
“Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson.  She had leukemia 
Maybe she didn’t tell you.” 
Struck dumb, I groped for a chair.  I had to catch my breath. 
“She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no. 
She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. 
But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly…” Her voice faltered, “She left  
something for you, if only I can find it.  Could you wait a moment while I
I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young 
woman.  She handed me a smeared envelope with “MR. P” printed in bold 
childish letters.  Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues, a yellow beach, 
a blue sea, and a brown bird.  Underneath was carefully printed: 
Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love 
opened wide..  I took Wendy’s mother in my arms.  “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, 
I’m so sorry,” I uttered over and over, and we wept together  The precious little 
picture is framed now and hangs in my study.  Six words — one for each year 
of her life — that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. 
A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand, 
who taught me the gift of love.


NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other. The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less. Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis. This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses. This comes from someone's heart, and is read by many and now I share it with you... May God Bless everyone who receives this! There are NO coincidences! Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Never brush aside anyone as insignificant. Who knows what they can teach us? 


Today, as we wait for the loons, I wish you A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.



Comments or Questions?   LoonCam(at)yahoo(dot)com

Copyright 2012     Larry Backlund