The French River splits to pieces as it nears Huron. The water breaks apart again and again, seeping through fractured granite, filling cracks, and sliding down into smaller, tighter channels, all drifting toward toward the lake.
I follow a snaking line of water between rocks narrow enough to touch. The granite towers over my head, half dark, half glowing in the setting sun. Receding water painted a dozen lines on the rocks, one underneath the next, long, straight stripes that make me cling to what little water is left. I drift on, thinking it will disappear at every turn.
The channel narrows. The boat scrapes along the sides. I feel claustrophobic and think of turning back, but the water never fails, only thins and winds further into the maze. I drop over a small twist of a rapid and down a slide of rock, the boat scraping bottom until I splash into a deep pool and drift forward underneath giant wedges of stone.
The water begins to move, pushing forward with some purpose, going somewhere, widening inch by inch, bending open, merging with other channels, letting me breathe again as the land fractures and splits apart.
I feel Huron out there, waiting, pulling at me with its gravity.
The sun dips into the horizon as I make the final turn south. The water yawns open and I surge forward. The trees shrink back, bent from the wind, shriveling away, disappearing with each moment, leaving nothing but barren rock stretching outward until it too begins to fade, to fall to pieces, to disappear against Huron’s inevitability.
The sky widens, purple, pink, and yellow, against the granite, and I fly on under the disappearing sun, soaring, pushing, racing the darkness, racing a million stars, to the last scraps of land, the edge of earth, hanging over Huron’s endless horizon.