I am sorry to tell you that the scattering did not go as planned.

You know he'd selected the spot he wanted a long time ago. We all agreed it would be most appropriate. No one could have foreseen what happened.

Brian and I had managed to haul the rowboat - full of garter snakes, as usual - into the water, and made our way towards the muskrat lodge.

George was the one that found it, you remember. He was the one who actually knew what it was. None of us had even seen a muskrat till he got there.

So we were rowing (well, I was holding the box). When we got closer to shore, Brian pulled the oars out of the water, drifting in. I kept an eye out for turtles sunning themselves on driftwood, for herons flying overhead, for sunfish and bass, for frogs. We didn't see the loons.

They can swim a fair distance under water, you know, the length of the lake at least. That's their primary defence, their ability to disappear completely, and then reappear someplace completely unexpected. 

That's what they did to us.

I think they were as surprised as we were, to surface one on either side of the boat. You'd think loons would know better. They surfaced, pulled themselves out of the lake, flapping, running, struggling to free their wings from the weight of the water, broke into the sky.

I'm not sure when I dropped the ashes.

I'm sorry.

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