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.
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