“Where does spirit live?”

Awake very early, listening to a loon call on Sakinaw Lake as the light was just beginning, and I felt the sound enter my body, as a soul returns after a long journey. When we camped here, 35 summers ago, we heard loons all summer, the air tremulous with their calls. I’d wake from sleep, my husband and first baby next to me in the tent, and think how far we were from everything we’d known, yet how complete that felt. A house creates barriers, the walls less porous than the canvas we were sleeping within. And age creates other barriers — you sleep differently and miss the sounds of the night.

morning window.jpg

Where does spirit live? Inside or outside

Things remembered, made things, things unmade?

What came first, the seabird’s cry or the soul

Imagined in the dawn cold when it cried?

                               –Seamus Heaney, from “Settings”, in Seeing Things

4 thoughts on ““Where does spirit live?””

      1. Occasionally I see them in the city, but our lakes are not entirely natural. I imagine there may be some on the Reservoir. I have seen them, most notably at Christina Lake near Rocky Mountain House. But for a number of years in the 80s we lived in Ottawa and in the Gatineau Park they were far more common. For my ex and me it was the quintessential “Who’s Who” moment. Remember those commercials? (I imagine you do.)

  1. I do remember those commercials! And yes, Gatineau Park is good for seeing loons. We often go over there when visiting older son and his family. And Meech Lake (that most Canadian of places for those of us who remember the constitutional discussions there in the late 1980s), where they swim close to the shore sometimes when some of us swim (and some of us watch. It’s a cold lake…). I want to say an unearthly sound but no, it’s completely of the earth and its water and its sky. But we don’t hear loons often enough to be habituated to the sound.

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