Maine Roots Run Deep


"The footbridge is low, so I have to scrunch down to avoid hitting my head as the kayak floats through to the other side. The water here is shallow and becomes narrower, with trees hanging close on either side. It’s a peaceful setting, more jungle-like than I thought the Maine woods could be, so I stop paddling and let the kayak float. A magnificent black bird with a band of white stripes on its neck and white flecks on its back surfaces in the water close to my kayak. As it turns its head toward me, I’m amazed to see it has red eyes! They seem to draw me into their depths, and for a few moments I sense they’re trying to tell me something. It’s the most extraordinary feeling, and then the bird is gone. I think of Grandpa Jack’s story and shiver. Is this my bird?

T.G.’s shout distracts me, and I wait as he and our grandparents paddle around a bend on their way back toward me. 'Wow, that loon came really close to you, Ellen!'

Paddling back toward the bridge, I wonder if the loon’s weird red eyes were a warning, but I shake it off. My dream was about the Abenaki, and no loons were in it. My brain pulses with an eerie autocorrect: No loons were in it—yet."