Take the “life in one picture” challenge

Author on island with a canoe

I recently saw a photo on LinkedIn. It was of four generations of couples kissing and it was captioned “life in one picture”. It was so simple, yet beautiful.

This week’s #HappyAct, is a challenge. If you had to capture your life in one photo right now, what would it be? Share your pic. Here’s mine.

My happy place has always been near the water. This picture of me was taken this week on our staycation—Dave and I spent the day paddling on Desert Lake. We stopped at this beautiful little island for a swim and lunch, and to watch a mother loon in the bay swim with a baby on her back. This is my life, in one picture, and I’m ever so grateful.

Rise and shine

Lake in the morningI’m not a morning person. Most Saturday and Sunday mornings, you’ll find me drinking coffee and reading the papers. But in the summer, when the sun is sparkling on the lake, I’ll get up early, fill a thermos with coffee and head down to the water to watch the lake come to life.

I wiped the morning dew from the deck chairs and drank my Cooke’s coffee. A lone painted turtle poked his head above the water. Across the lake, the loons were in the midst of early morning take-off practice.

Did I mention that our loons had twins this year? We’ve named this year’s offspring Leo and Lana and they’ve grown big and strong. Today was the day their parents decided to start flight training.

Loons are lousy flyers. I have no idea how they make it to the Gulf of Mexico each winter. They skim across the lake, their wings laboriously slapping the water. Just when you think they’re never going to make it, like a 300 lb man being dragged behind a boat on waterskis, they eventually rise out of the water and you hear the flap, flap, flap of their wings as they circle overhead.

Loon and babies

The other night, Dave and I were out fishing, and we watched as one of our loons botched a landing. He was careening in from the air, trying to level out as he got close to the water, tipping his wings right, then left and hit the water so hard it’s a wonder he didn’t lose a leg. Another time, I swear I almost got hit by one. We were in the canoe and off in the distance ahead, a loon was starting to take off. He must have misjudged the distance between him and our canoe, because he kept coming closer and closer until he lifted off just metres before our boat. He was so close I literally ducked.

I wanted to go see our loon family, so I rolled over the kayak and pushed off from shore. I always check my kayak before I start paddling in case there are any bugs, frogs or other creatures in it. Half way across the lake I realized I had a stowaway– a little garter snake who was slithering up beside my seat. He was a well behaved passenger and just curled up in front of my kayak for the rest of the trip.

Garter snake in kayak
My stowaway

I saw a green heron, a family of five turtles on the rock down from our dock while I was swimming and lots of fish. It was a good morning–well worth rising early for.

This week’s #HappyAct is to rise and shine and see what adventures await. There’s only a few weeks of summer left. Make the most of every sun-kissed minute.

Watch a baby grow–read about our loons

Loon family
Our loon family

I was kayaking in our back lake last Sunday. It was a bit of a challenge to even get into the lake because the beavers had dammed up the channel, but I made it in, and was rewarded to discover our two loons with a brand new baby.

We had given up hope there would be a baby this year. I had taken pictures of the mother on her nest and the egg about a month ago, but when no baby appeared, we assumed the egg had been eaten by a snapping turtle or pike.

Each day this past week has brought a new wonder as we’ve watched “Wheezy” (short for Louise) grow. She started out staying very close to her mother, often riding on her back , then learning how to dive.

The other day she was in the middle of the lake by herself. The mama and papa loon were closer to our dock. You could tell they were worried and trying to find her. She’d give a little hoot, and they’d answer with a full call, dipping their heads under water to try to hear her better and locate her. The parents started swimming quickly toward her and the family was reunited. Last night, I watched as the dad fished and fed the baby his catch.

There is nothing more life affirming than witnessing the miracle of life. It represents everything that is good in this world–innocence, trust, love, optimism, and endless possibility. We experienced this same feeling a few weeks ago on vacation when we watched a newborn foal find his legs during our week-long visit.

Fast forward to two nights ago. I was walking across the soccer field. My two girls were walking and talking in front of me. I was suddenly struck by what beautiful, spirited people they had become. In that moment I was so proud. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to watch them grow. I look forward to the next ten years to see the young women they become.

This week’s #HappyAct is to watch a baby grow. Witness the miracle of life and be thankful that each day is a gift. I have two more births to look forward to. Our neighbours are expecting a baby this fall and we are looking forward to welcoming their little one into the world and watch him grow. And Dave’s almost finished building the chicken coop—time to get baby chicks!

Adult loon ruffling its feathers
The papa loon warns us we are getting too close

Baby loon on her mother's back
Wheezy getting a ride on her mother’s back

Loon egg
The egg is a mottled brown, about the size of a grapefruit