For us loons, some of the most exciting days on the lake are when the waves are rolling tall with white foam and the wind is singing in a deep howling voice through the trees. On these days. I often observe these human anglers hiding in protective waters speaking negatively about this natural process. The human language is already strange enough to me, but the language that is directed toward the sacred four winds is even stranger.
They sometimes appear ragged,soaked, frustrated warriors in their magnificent boats,returning from some far away battle against an invisible enemy. I listen to their whining descriptions of this enemy and its effects on the great battle plans of their crusade. "I couldn't attack the area the way I needed and consequently could capture no prisoners. My equipment was too damaged by the monstrous waves to do battle when I arrived in my area, and I had to return to safe harbor where many of the brave warriors were still fearfully waiting to see if the terrible storm would subside." Yet I, a lowly Loon, look around and can not see the source of terror. I only see a magical storm, bringing life giving rains, and refreshing wind to cleanse the earth and skies. I see no enemy.
Even more confused, I think back to only a week earlier, when another army of warriors and ships invaded my world, and they too blamed their failure to capture any prisoners on another invisible enemy. The description I overheard of their enemy was totally different. It was this vast calmness and melting humidity, accompanied by this unbearable penetrating heat. The early thoughts of many prisoners captured evaporated into the unrelenting Sun. Their early enthusiasm flowed out of their bodies as last nights beer flowed like sweat from their pores. Yet I, a lowly Loon, look around and can not see the source of their complaints. I only see a vast reflective mirror of water, interacting with Father Sun, allowing her children to be pulled skyward by its transforming heat into the heavens to become rain bearing clouds. I see no enemy.
I am reminded of my winter journey to southern waters and seeing similar yet different warriors in their search for captives. They were plumper; I assume better fed. They looked something akin to a turkey in heat, when it struts around with its feathers puffed out, and yet it wasn't feathers they wore. They moved slower and they too complained of an invisble enemy. They spoke of the water being so hard they couldn't reel their line through their rod guides. They mumbled of their quarry being sluggish and unwilling to do battle. To me they appeared to be sluggish ones. Intermixed in their strange language was snorting,wheezing,coughing, and strangely enough all their beaks were red. Yet I, a lowly Loon, look around and see a silent winter day. I see still waters and a resting earth waiting to be born again. I see no enemy.
Being too curious for my own good, I infiltrate their encampment to try to learn more of the enemy they war against. They seem to all return to the encampment around mid-afternoon. Who is the enemy they speak of? The complaining here takes on squabble of a flock of gulls fighting over fish. They speak of green hogs breaking their magic swords. They talk of its unfair tactics hiding in a dense underwater forest of weeds, of being too deep when they should be shallow, of being too shallow when they should be deep, and they even confront each other for interfering with their ability to capture this elusive quarry. That was my battlefield; I found it first. You warned the enemy I was coming and frightened them away. You spied on my boat and saw my secret weapon. You snagged the captive from her nest. They mixed their best captives together. On and on it would go and it still made no sense to me.
Finally, one exclaims that "I have more captives than the rest of you!" and finally, I think I will see this incredibly worthy enemy they speak of. I wait excitedly as they all hump over their boats, peering inside some box like a great blue heron peering into a pond. Finally, the proudest and loudest warrior of them all stands erect in his boat and heaves his captives above his head. Yet I, a lowly Loon, look and look and look. Surely I have missed something, for all I see are little green wet fish. I swim away confused, shaking my head in disbelief. Their enemy is my dinner. Their enemy is my wondrous world! I still do not understand. I see no enemy!