Max and the Midnight Loon
(Page 3 of 3)
Mr. Rosiello turned toward Max's bewildered face. ``Well, it's just a little poem I made up - I sometimes say it before I go to sleep - especially when I see a full moon.'' Max just kept staring. Mr. Rosiello continued. ``See the shadows on the moon? They have names - sea of this, lake of that. I like to say their names. They make me feel peaceful.''Skip to next paragraph
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``Hmmm,'' said Max, ``I never think of the moon having lakes and seas. I wonder if there are loons there, too?''
``Well, actually there are no lakes on the moon. Long ago the astronomers who named the shadows thought they were bodies of water. But then scientists discovered the moon has no moisture. The shadows are only dry plains. Fortunately, they kept the names anyway.''
``Oh,'' said Max.
``Buona notte,'' said Mr. Rosiello. He turned over, resumed his little chant - ``Bay of Billows, Sea of Clouds....'' - and drifted off to sleep.
``Good night,'' said Max. Without any intention of falling asleep, he closed his eyes and tried to picture the perfect black-and-white loon. But the image kept changing into a dull gray bird flying away from him.
Finally, he gave up his loon thoughts and let his eyes open enough to trace the moon shadows - Sea of Tranquility, Lake of Dreams, Lake of Dreams, Lake of Dreams....
``Two adults, one chick.'' Wendell's paper was floating above Max. Then the words, ``one chick'' lifted off the page and danced around him like streamers. The streamers became a sound - a far away, lonely wail. It called to Max. Called him back - back before Columbus, before the Indians, before the glaciers pushed earth into mountains. Max followed the wail further and further into time. Millions of years back. Finally, he stood face to face with a black-and-white loon. He was ancient. Max recognized him as the first loon.
He looked deep into its cranberry eyes and waited. But the wail was still calling him. And peering more deeply now into the loon's eyes, Max could see the sun sparkling on Lovejoy Pond. He saw Mr. Rosiello standing on the dock. And the two adult loons flying away. Then, he noticed a younger, smaller loon bobbing alone in the middle of the lake. He was calling Max.
Max tried to answer, tried to imitate the wail: ``whooh, whooooooooo.'' And as he did, he heard the loon's voice - no longer far away, but right there, inside him. He could understand it. This loon was afraid. But not because he was left alone. He was not in danger. But many others were.
With this thought, Max sat up wide awake. He immediately nudged Mr. Rosiello. ``Mr. Rosiello, wake up, wake up. There is a chick. I heard him calling. The loons need help.''
Mr. Rosiello turned over. ``Si,'' he said groggily, ``I think I heard him, too.''
Then Max told Mr. Rosiello his entire disturbing dream.
But Mr. Rosiello explained to Max how in old times many Algonquian Indians living in New England understood loons, too. He told him he should listen to his dream.
In the morning, when the sun shone into their faces, Mr. Rosiello and Max woke again. They didn't take time for breakfast before going out to search for the young loon. But as Mr. Rosiello headed down to the canoe, Max found Wendell's paper and wrote, ``One chick counted by voice.'' `Kidspace' is a place on The Home Forum pages where kids can find stories that will spark imaginations, entertain with a tall tale, explain how things work, or describe a real-life event. These articles appear twice a month, usually on Tuesdays.