Loon’s Feather

My beach hat

It’s a fool’s errand, trying to paddle on a tube. Each stroke spins the float, so attempts at forward motion just look arduous and silly. I gave up trying to get anywhere just as I noticed the pair of loons.

They’d been noticing me already, and were surprisingly nonplussed. I’m used to them being skittish even from a good distance, quick to dive away. But these two seemed to care less as I drifted closer. The female cooed a bit, preened some, gave me a look, preened some more. The male watched me calmly. This went on for what seemed like quite a while.

I came within 25 yards of them. Must’ve made quite a sight, splayed belly up atop the tube, motionless with a kayak paddle in my hands. While they regarded me, I noticed something nearby: a feather resting atop the sea’s surface, one she’d just shed.

I stayed perfectly still. We were on a collision course, the feather and I. Closer, closer, I reach down and grasp it between my thumb and forefinger. Now it’s affixed to my beach hat, a gift from a loon.

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