Kim McDougall

Mystic Loon

What’s with the loon? Let me tell you a story…


I love to swim, and with the quarantine, I’ve had little opportunity to do so this year. Luckily, I have a good friend who offered her cottage for a week-long writing retreat. It was wonderful. I edited book 2 (Dervishes Don’t Dance) and ate and read…and swam. Here’s the loony part. 


Ontario is home to many loons of the feathered variety (quite a few of the human variety too). Our dollar coin is affectionately called the “loony” because it features one of these beautiful birds. So I was thrilled to hear their unusual call the first night at the cottage. When I swam each day, I only saw them from afar, but even that was pretty cool. 


Then, one afternoon as I was floating in the middle of the lake, plotting out book 3, I heard a SQUAWK! right behind my ear. If I hadn’t been floating, I’d have fallen over. I turned around, and he was right beside me, so close I could have touched him. I think I startled the poor guy as much as he startled me! He squawked again as if to say, “What are you doing in the middle of my lake, hooman?” We ogled each other for a few minutes. He was beautiful! And bigger than I had imagined with a wickedly sharp beak. 

Then he dove a caught a fish, right in front of me. His mate called to him from across the lake (“Stop flirting and bring that fish!”) so he left me for her, dolphin-diving all the way to the other end of the lake. It was a mystical experience.


Don’t be surprised if in a future Valkyrie Bestiary book, Kyra finds herself face-to-face with a loon! I’d love to hear about your mystical encounters with furred, feathered or scaled creatures. Just reply right in the comments.

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