Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor
The smell is so bad that I angle the canoe to keep the breeze off the
port side and out of my face. This is difficult, as the stiff wind pushes
the bow back toward the beach and willow reeds. The wave chop sends spray
into my face. The boy in the bow handles the paddle clumsily but with enthusiasm.
"George [not his real name]," I say, "look at that loon that just surfaced."
Its sleek black feathers are barely visible above the wave tops as it bobs
on the surface not 10 yards from our bow. George scans the water but does
not register the pointed beak and dappled body. His territory is the inner
city. His recognition patterns are the dangerous corners, the drug runners,
the safe houses.
Shwayder TA. Call of the Loon. JAMA. 1998;280(14):1221–1222. doi:10.1001/jama.280.14.1221
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