Lone Loon

Header image: from Cephas through Creative Commons 

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

Every spring, a loon appears on Crystal Bay and stays until late fall. Loons are seen very rarely on this lake because it’s so heavily populated with boaters, especially when compared to the quiet, pristine lakes of the BWCA. Late at night this little loon makes the clarion, haunting sounds that only loons can make. I see him out there swimming and bobbing all by himself. In fact, as I sit here typing while facing the quiet autumn bay, I can see his silhouette far off in the distance.

I’ve never understood how a loon could not have a partner. He’s all alone out there summer after summer. I make up that he had a partner long ago and returns each spring to mourn her or perhaps still wait with anticipation. This loon and I share the quiet aloneness of our lives.

I prefer to use the term “alone” rather than “lonely”. For most of my life, if I didn’t have constant human interaction, I did feel painfully lonely. During my first few years after the divorce, I scrambled to find new people rather than face my new singlehood and desperately avoided time by myself. It seemed as though I only existed when others were around. It was a difficult chapter in my life.

I dated like crazy those early years, trying to compensate for a lifetime of being married to two men I’d grown to thoroughly dislike. For the first time in my 40 years of adulthood, I felt unencumbered and free. Eventually, after dating many ill-suited men, I met and fell madly in love with a man I was certain that I was born to be with. He broke my heart into pieces after a few months, then returned to my life once again three years later, saying he wanted to take care of me after my massive cancer surgery. He abruptly left the night before the surgery. My heart was broken all over again.

I had to come to terms with the obvious: I was in love for both of us. I’ll always see this man as the perfect life partner for me in spite of the betrayal and pain he brought, and in spite of knowing that this love affair was an illusion.

That was five years ago, and I haven’t dated since. Illusion or not, this relationship raised the bar so high that I knew in my heart no one would ever fill the piece he’d carved out. Over the years, I’ve self-repaired by contemplating the gift of this relationship and have long since realized that his presence in my life made it possible to experience the joy of being completely in love for the first time in my whole life. For the rest of what remains of my life, I can honestly know how this feels.

And so, he is long gone, but the precious feelings I finally got to feel are with me everyday. I no longer feel true loneliness, only an occasional bout of nostalgia when I see couples slow dancing. I’ve learned that my own company is enough and that one could ever be as perfectly matched for me than myself. Another way of saying this is that I finally feel safe and content with the best roommate ever: me.

How has a heartbreak been a gift in your life?

30 thoughts on “Lone Loon”

  1. nice post cb
    i always see loons in pairs youre right
    i have bern a long term relstionship guy 1 high scool girlfriend, one college era, one first wife obe second and each seperation was heartbreaking
    it doesnt ake long for my partner to realize life with me is not perfect
    i am always traumatized when i am put in dumpee position
    ache pain denisl innersearch then a realazation that the closing of one door leaves sll the others as an option
    i can feel bad or anticipate the new chapter with hope and vision
    scars are inevitable. it was a doctor who was putting stitches in my face said . its charachter. now you have a little charachter instead of a clean slate.
    so i do

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Uff–Heartbreak is so painful. Each heartbreak has been a gift and each has been a terrible, fearsome thing. And there have been many. My father’s illness at a young age, an adored Grandpa’s death, a college BF, a marriage–it goes on and on.

    The gift of each of them is knowing that I am strong and that I can navigate those waters. There is always something good on the other side.

    But it hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It takes exceptional character to be comfortable with “aloneness.” I’m lucky to have married the “right woman” the first time, but if she were to die before me, I’d be perfectly happy as a bachelor who can pick and choose when to see friends and family, and who to see, on my own terms.

    My gut feel is that people who constantly need to be with someone or interact with people constantly are afraid to be alone with their thoughts. While at times I think very dark, depressing things (mostly what if scenarios), most of the time I’m perfectly happy with my thoughts and have a positive outlook on life for the future, despite man’s repeated attempts to destroy himself and the planet.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your comment is thoughtful and nicely expressed, Chris, but I can’t agree with all of it. I adore mixing with people, and it has nothing to do with fear of being alone with my thoughts. “My thoughts” are my girlfriend, the source of much of my joy. I hope my thoughts are a healthy thing for me. We sure spend a lot of time together.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, Steve. I didn’t intend to portray everyone as being one or the other. I sometimes wish I was as comfortable with others as I am by myself, but I accept that and don’t worry about it.



  4. I try to use every setback in life as a way of becoming more sensitive and more appreciative of the gift of life. The most painful setbacks in my life have been romantic, so they have given me the most significant occasions for reflection and growth.

    I wish I could make a virtue of living alone. I’d sure be virtuous, if that were true.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Deaths of loved ones: never a gift. But death of a marriage turned out to lighten my face and manner so much, several people commented on it. Finally acknowledging that the main heartbreak at the ex having affairs then leaving was financial fears. Once realizing that i began to thrive, not just survive. I’ve lived alone now since 1985 with one brief romance that turned into a friendship. I cherish many friendships, but am very protective and appreciative of my alone time and living alone.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I have suffered a little from relationships that brought heartbreak. I can’t think of any that created a major problem for me or changed my life. It would be a big heartbreak for me if I lost any of the people who are currently close to me. My parents both lived long lives and it was not a big shock to me when they passed away.

    I think some of the terrible events that happen during my life time, including wars and unfair treatment of people, are heartbreaking. These terrible events lead me to look for some way to participate in building a better world.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I know there are people who, years after the death of a loved one, can look back and say “Ah, but if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have been able to ___________.” Haven’t found that one yet. That said, I do concur with Jacque that it has been good to know I can survive my son’s (and my dad’s) death, and still enjoy my life.

    There has been heartbreak sometimes in leaving one town for another. I usually find much to love wherever I live (including usually one favorite person in each place), and a couple of moves have been heart-wrenching, but that’s where I have seen the silver lining – if we hadn’t moved, this or that couldn’t have happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Heartbreak has never turned out to be a gift for me. I lost both my dad and youngest brother when they were much too young (not at the same time, thankfully). The one redeeming fact in those losses was that they went relatively quickly and didn’t suffer long, lingering declines, which neither would have wanted to endure. Other than those two events, I haven’t had much actual heartbreak.

    I have never really been lonely or very much alone. I’d kind of like to try that out, if it could be done without suffering heartbreak first. I went right from my parents’ home to marriage at the ridiculous age of 20 and have been married to the same guy ever since. At a rough guess, I’d say we have been apart maybe 120 days in 46 years. What’s alone like?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What is Alone like?

      Alone is knowing that even though you are surrounded by people at home, work, or school and you know that nobody understands your thoughts or feelings (or cares…). Nobody sees you for yourself, but only as someone who performs certain tasks, whether at home or work. Maybe there’s somebody that is a kindred spirit in your life, but if you’re lucky, you see her once every couple years if she lives far away, or once every 3-4 months if she lives in the same city.

      That’s one way of being Alone.


  9. Heartbreaks come in so many ways. For me the hardest ones to recover from have been betrayals. Can’t say that I have ever developed an appreciation for them. I’ve had a fair amount of relationships in my life that have ended, but we’ve usually managed to part ways in an amicable way. The painful ones have been the ones where agreed upon boundaries were violated, and deliberate deceit was involved.

    Death can be difficult, but having just lost one of my favorite people in the world to a sudden death at the age of 80, I can only say that while I’m saddened at his passing, I’m grateful that he was spared a prolonged and painful death. Meanwhile, my friend, Shirley, is slowly, and painfully succumbing to cancer of the jaw at age 82, and my friend Ken’s 64 year old brain is rapidly deteriorating from frontotemporal dementia. Gratitude and compassion are often gained through painful experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I once had a very close friend suddenly email everything she didn’t like about me. It was searing, starling, and shaming. At first, I composed an email response to several things she wrote that were projection and passive aggressive. Thankfully, I didn’t hit “send”. The next day, still reeling from this, I instinctively knew what I needed to do in order to move on. I wrote every kind thing she’d done for me in a detailed list with bullet points. The moment I sent it, the intense pain began to lift.

      Unfortunately, she wrote back telling me, “Thank you for your gracious email – if had a list for you, we’d still be friends”. It didn’t matter what she said, it felt like a St. Bernard licking your face while peeing down your leg. I came away feeling like a better person.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, when the death of TLGMS came, this blog was born. And through this blog, many of us found friends and a forum to have lively discussions about many things (with differences of opinion respected and discussed without name-calling or demeaning speech), a place to joke and laugh together, a place to find sympathy when sad things happen. A good place.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. On my way to the dentist this afternoon I remembered my first big heartbreak. My first boyfriend ever, first year of college, ended with me being dumped and great anguish. It took a couple years to recover, it finally ended when I dreamt I was pulling around a dead horse behind me. Then when his first marriage ended he re-appeared in my life. I was in Washington state he was in South Dakota so we exchanged letters. Then, ironically, his fiancé ended up teaching in the same town I did. He, of course, hadn’t mentioned he was engaged. I saw him one more time then lost touch for thirty or so years. Recently we have re-connected and now he has asked me to be his fourth wife. He’s still married to the third. I am so thankful he dumped me all those years ago…I don’t want to imagine what my life would have been like if he hadn’t. And now the contact just makes me chuckle.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Too busy all day to post much. Off tomorrow for an Autism conference in Fargo. I have always been the heart breaker (only twice). Both times i felt like a shnook.


  13. I’ve grown and become stronger with every painful experience. I see so very many gifts from having cancer for which I’m so grateful: learning how to ask for help, people’s spontaneous giving, losing the fear of death, greater appreciation for the life left me, discovering how resilient I am. And so much more. I’d have a hard time remembering anything painful that didn’t reap important lessons – all of them needed. I’ve learned that shit happens and that it’s how I respond that makes it bearable.

    Trail Baboon didn’t appear on my email today and I only found it by typing in the actual site. I regret not being able to participate the one day I had a story published 😦


  14. Evening–

    My wife’s best friend, her Aunt Ruth, died in 1999. Ruth’s husband Bill died in 2003. (He died on their wedding anniversary.)

    Ruth and Bill didn’t have any kids. Kelly was one of four nieces and nephews that split the inheritance.
    Ruth and Bill made a lot of things possible for us. As much as we miss them, they gave us ‘options’.
    Loosing Ruth was terrible on Bill and Kelly and all her friends. She was only 58 and had a laugh that would fill a room with light.
    Bill missed her terribly. As he got ill, Kelly was pretty sure he would be with Ruth on their anniversary. Kelly was the administrator of their estate. And that was hard on her too.
    But again; the gifts they left all of us, were gifts that really did keep on giving.


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