Near Thunder Point, Lake Superior – September 12, 2013
The first wave hit the nose of the boat and sent a spray of water soaring into the air. The drops flew back in the wind and I ducked my chin. They caught me on the cheek, cold and sharp.
Clouds scattered above me. Sunlight poured through patches of blue. The air felt crisp and dry. Wind poured out of the north, chasing away yesterday’s rain.
Another wave caught the bow and spray splashed up. I glared at the water, jaw clinched, skin tight across my face. I wanted it to be easy, simple, but the lake refused.
The emerald green water rose with white tips. It crashed and broke, filling the bay with foam. This was the last exposed gap before Thunder Bay. A few more miles and I’d be hidden away behind peninsulas and islands.
Another wave slapped the bow. I yelled at the water, full of anger, mad that it wouldn’t leave me in peace. I slapped at it with the paddle. It slapped back. Then I laughed. I smiled. I cheered the water on.
Come, come, I shouted. It is your last chance. Come and play. Tomorrow I will leave you. Come now, come and be difficult, be stubborn, be cold. Come and push me, shove me, try and knock me down. Come. I am here. I am waiting. I will not stop. I will not hide. I will not run from you today. Come and leave me something to remember you by.
The deep blue sky scattered with white puffs of clouds. Light and shadow played across the world. I rose and fell. I crashed through the emerald water. I laughed in joy.
The waves never stopped. They slapped and punched. They slid over the deck. They hit me in the stomach. But they were never angry, never terrifying, just playful, just Superior saying goodbye with one last punch.