I was basking in the sun down by the lake watching the clouds go by. The weather was warm and the sky was azure. If I had looked up I would have seen the reflection of the mountains on the still water. My intention had been to lean against a convenient tree and read but my book lay beside me all but forgotten. I had nearly dozed off when I heard something very large emerge from the woods and splash into the lake.
Startled out of a dream like state, I listen for more, but there is total silence. The birds are quiet, too. I look over to see my parents are fast asleep on our picnic blanket. They look so peaceful. I didn’t want to wake them, so I decided to go exploring and investigate that mysterious sound.
After walking about a quarter of a mile, I stop and see faint tracks going into the water. For such large footprints, they barely made dint in the sand around the lake. I had to look very closely to see them.
Whistling a little tune I had made up, I watched the water for any signs of life. There was a rippling and then I saw a smooth green nose appear. As I watched, the rest of it appeared. It was all clean and shiny from the water, but BIG! I was rooted to the spot, standing there with my mouth hanging open in awe.
A low sweet baritone voice said. “You gonna catch some flies in there if you don’t close it.” He was laughing at me!
I closed it with a snap and starting laughing, too.
“What are you? How long have you been living here? Has anyone else seen you? Do you have a family?” I started asking all these as soon as I could catch my breath.
“Hold your horses, little miss. I can only answer one question at a time. First, let me ask you about the song you were whistling. That’s why I came back up. It sounded so pretty, I had to see the person who made it.”
“I made it up all by myself this morning. I like making music. My mother gives me piano lessons in our home. Will you answer my questions, please?”
“Absolutely, I am a, what you humans call, a dinosaur. I have been living here over 500 years. Lot’s of children have seen me; some have even come back as adults. My family is scattered all over the world in the highlands mostly.”
“Wow! My parents will be waking up soon. If we come back next year, will you tell me some more about all the things you have seen and the people you have met?”
“Oh, sure!” he exclaimed. “I’d love to tell you my stories. I like telling kids about my famous cousin in Scotland, Nessie. That’s what the world calls her now, but we always called her “Queenie”. I’ll see you next year.” He slipped silently back into the water. It was as if he was never there. “My goodness! I can hardly wait until next vacation.”
I ran back to where my parents were stirring from their naps. I picked up my book and pretended to be reading.
“Sweetie, it’s time to pack up and go home. Did you find anything interesting to do around the lake? Did you learn anything today?” my Mother asked.
“Oh, Mother, I took a nap and then I went for a walk. There wasn’t a thing new to see except I saw a red-tailed hawk.”
My mother looked at me with a slight smile and tilt to her head, as if she knew I was hiding something. “Yes, dear, I think I remember seeing a red-tailed hawk here when I was a child.