Angle to Key West: Nudge (6/26)

Rainy Lake, Voyageurs National Park, MN – June 26, 2012

From fifty feet up, the water looked like concrete. I leaned over the edge of Anderson Bay’s cliffs and felt blood rushing into my head. The world started to shift and spin underneath me and I no longer trusted my legs. Someone told me you could jump off and I believed it as I paddled under the cliff, but everyone believes monsters aren’t real until they see the teeth.

I crawled back from the edge.

The Looksha waited for me below. I’d left her clinging to a rock along the cliff as I climbed up. Now she looked like a child’s toy.

It wouldn’t be easy getting back down. I’d have to slide down a tree, then pick my way across and down the lower cliff with my hands and feet, but the view was worth it.

The land is so flat here that it’s rare to see it from above. It’s hard to understand the scale of things. From the cliffs, you can stare out at the bay’s dark blue water and see where it breaks the ring of green forest to join Rainy Lake. It is beautiful country, all green and blue, mixed with the granite rock of the Canadian Shield.

I peered over the edge again, hoping the cliff had shrunk. The Looksha smiled up at me and the height made me dizzy. I stepped back and looked out over the empty bay. Rainy Lake looked like an ocean on the horizon and I felt like the only person in the world.

“That boat and you are going to have plenty of adventures,” I thought. “Let this one go.”

I found my shadow on the water below and waved. It didn’t care if I jumped or not, no one did. I was the only person there. I was all alone. At least that’s what I thought.

The Looksha drifted across my shadow, the untied rope dangling behind her.

“You tricky girl,” I said.

She smiled up at me.

“I thought you needed a nudge,” she said.

I froze, staring as she faded away in the wind. Then I looked down, took a breath to stop the world from spinning, and jumped.

6 responses to “Angle to Key West: Nudge (6/26)

  1. In The Maine Woods, Thoreau wrote, “I suspect that, if you should go to the end of the world, you would find someone there going farther…” I believe you are the kind of somebody he was writing about. As always, see it all!

    • Fester, whenever I am unsure if I should paddle somewhere just to look, I think of you saying “see it all” and I paddle. You are always there with me when I go farther. I miss being on a trail with you and look forward to the next time we are on one together.

  2. In almost all great adventures there is a “leap of faith” involved. You can plan but you can’t plan everything and that last unknown gap is your moment with fate…………

  3. Pingback: Angle to Key West: Up Rapids and Jumping Off Cliffs (7/17) | Predictably Lost·

  4. Sitting safely behind a desk in “corporate” america, I am moved to tears by the beauty of your storytelling. Your perspectives are sensitive and wise. I’m sure you’ll get a book deal out of your blog if you haven’t already. Congrats :)

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