Huron lay peaceful again, nothing more than ripples. I paddled for miles, trying to narrow the lake and drag up a faint horizon of land across the south shore, to find the end before the wind returns.
It feels like I’ve won a battle, like my enemy is fleeing, and the field is open in front of me. All I need to do is rush in to take it. I give the orders, but I am too weary. I cannot charge. I cannot run. I can only drag forward.
I paddled almost thirty miles, but they didn’t come like they used to.
Nothing is broken. My bones are all solid. My muscles aren’t torn. My ligaments and tendons still string my body together. But I feel worn through like an old shirt, not cut or ripped, just gone.
My heels calloused and cracked against the plastic hull. My knees and hips sore from the same endless positions. My back tangled and bent with tired muscles and stacked bones. My wrists held together by string and will. My hands bruised against the paddle.
I feel it all in the quiet, every ache, every soreness, every tender piece. I don’t want to believe that I’m wearing down, that I’m breaking apart, that I’m thin and disappearing. I want to believe I’m invincible.
It makes me miss the wind, miss the portages, miss the story I could drape over my worn body and tired will. I want an enemy across the field, something to fight against. Open space reveals too much.