I woke up to calm water for the first time since pouring out of the French River into Lake Huron. No whitecaps, no constant push against the hull, nothing but glass. I paddled through the Whaleback’s granite islands and along the shoreline with the North Channel opening up to the horizon on my left shoulder.
The wind held, nothing more than a light breeze, and I paddled and paddled, half-mad with glee, moving past the midday sun, past the heat of afternoon, past the sunset’s colors and on.
I never left the boat. I never got out. I never stopped. I just went into the darkness, watched the shore turn to shadow and the stars pop overhead until close to midnight, until the rising moon made the water sparkle like diamonds and my arms felt like lead.
I laid out on a flat rock underneath the stars, staring up until my eyes closed and the world faded, content that I’d pushed as far as I could while the water was easy and the wind slept still.