Today, fresh off my winter vacation in the southwest and home again to Crosslake, I stepped out on the deck and, through the morning mist over the foggy lake, heard for the first time the loons calling across the water. Nothing means home on the lake to me like hearing those beautiful birds, calling their mates to set up house for another season. Not the buds on the trees, the pussy willows along the creek or the blooming crocuses in the flower garden, can herald in the spring like the loons — at least for me.

I started out my life being raised in a rural setting, moved to an urban setting for four decades out of necessity and then retired back to the serenity of the woods and nature some 20 years ago. When I think of all of the wonderful things money can buy to make us happy and then think of the simple life I now enjoy, surrounded by nature, I know I have made a great choice. One that many people would love to have the opportunity to do and I was blessed to be able to do.

We live in trying times. There are those who don’t feel as I do about nature and this world we live in. There are those who are trying to change this world in radical directions. The quietness of the forest I used to walk in is now interrupted by roaring four wheelers and gunshots. The animals refuse to show themselves, cowering in their hiding places. The serenity of the lake is being lost to wave boats and personal watercraft, screaming around like angry mosquitoes. Those same loons I talked about will probably not reproduce because of the harassment. It was nice while it lasted.

Mike Holst