The wind ripped across Namakan Lake sending wave after wave crashing against my small island. I’d arrived after sunset last night, worn thin by miles of open water. After passing a half-dozen campsites, all occupied with motor boats and smiling faces, my tiny rock felt like the last quiet place on Earth.
I pushed the Looksha into the waves, jumped in, and paddled. The west wind had the length of Namakan to build ripples into giants that would have scared me back to shore two weeks ago on Massacre Island. Now, the water only seemed playful and alive.
I learned a lot in two hundred miles.
I don’t know the old songs the voyageurs used to sing, so I hummed my own and paddled with the rhythm. Through the thin channels that end Namakan, across Sand Point Lake and King Williams Narrows, to the far end of Crane Lake, I paddled and hummed, the beat barely changing.
This is becoming my world. Every day it fits better, like a tailor is cutting away the extra pieces. I no longer dream of my soft bed at home. I’ve stopped thinking about what I would order at my favorite restaurant. I don’t wonder what is on tv.
But something is missing as if the tailor forgot one stitch.
I walked two miles down a lonely road from Crane Lake to pick up a permit for the boundary waters. The only place to get it is a small store and outfitter called Anderson’s just outside of town.
“What do you charge for ice cream?” I asked the woman inside.
“Which do you want?” she said. “The big containers or the bars?”
“Do you have a spoon,” I asked.
She handed me a beat up, old spoon and I pulled a tub of mint chip out of the freezer.
The tailor sniped and brushed at the fabric for a moment, then stepped back with a smile.
“Perfect fit,” he said.