Angle to Key West: Spoils of War (5/8)


Masonboro Island, NC – May 8, 2013

The tide and wind grabbed me and pulled north in a fury as I rounded the inside of Cape Fear and flew up the open mouth of a river. The air and water had all the strength of a storm, but lacked the violent edge, the sharpness, the anger. The waves didn’t peak and crash, they just rolled, full of will and power, like a horse springing out of the gates.

I slid across the water past giant freighters and car-filled ferries, past zigzagging sailboats and islands covered with birds. Spray ripped off my paddle blades. Miles disappeared in chunks. The world felt simple and clear, full of perfect timing and forward movement.

Days of punishing wind, of backwards tides, of frustration, broke apart and disappeared. I held and held, throwing my arms around that wild horse of wind and tide, squeezing its mane between my knuckles, flying north for all the days that I couldn’t and begging the sun to stand still and refuse to set.

I wanted perfection to last forever because I knew it wouldn’t. The sun disappeared. The world went black. The horse slowed to a walk in the darkness.

But it was a good ride.

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