The Lake Where the Loons Are Laughing Low

My father-in-law’s cousin owns a cabin on Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota, not far from the Boundary Waters and the Canadian border. It was built in 1932, which seems a strange economic time to build a vacation home, but reminds me a bit of the Civilian Conservation Corps projects that began the next year.

This past week twenty of us – my husband, his parents, his three brothers and their families, and his honorary sister – all gathered at the cabin, converging from California, North Dakota, Ohio and Minnesota for four days together at the lake.

I love seeing and hearing the loons on the lake – in the day you can hear them laughing, at night their mournful calls float through the windows while I fall asleep.

I wrote week 26’s song for #songaweek2018 in the gazebo behind the cabin one afternoon while the cousins played in the water. The first lines came from the weekend before we were at the lake, when we took our kids sailing for the very first time, and I pointed out the sunlight glinting on the water. No camera can do it justice. The same is true of the sunsets over Lake Vermilion (or anywhere really!).

That evening I played the song a couple times for Nathan and his brother Micah while we sat around before dinner, and then asked my daughter to record us playing it.

Don’t take my word for it, you should go and
see for yourself how the sunlight glints on
waves of the water all around
your boat on the lake where the loons are laughing low

Breathe with the trees and the birds and the insects
so many creatures you never noticed
different from you but all the same
it’s life on the lake where the loons are laughing low

You can’t stay forever but you can drink it
deeply enough that you could keep it
down in your soul where you can always
feel the lake where the loons are laughing low

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