The day was comfortable in the way that last breath of summer is in the middle of September. My sweatshirt was almost too warm, and I shielded my eyes against the sun’s brilliance. Another thirty feet and a hopscotch across a dozen rocks brings me to the foot of the boulder slick with spray. Every step deliberate, I climb the sloped back to the top of the basalt beast until I reach the summit a mere six feet above the lake.
Once comforting and warm, the breeze now turns cool. Mist-laden air cuts through the fleece of my hoodie and sends a shiver through me. Clouds matching the gray water stretched out to the horizon hide the sun. White birch trunks accent the golden brushes of tamarack and dark green of pines lining the rocky shore to either side, stiff brown grasses at their feet.
The clean scent of water surrounds me, echoes of fish and seaweed and the cold depths of Lake Superior flavor the air. White foam tips waves pound the shore, the lake’s pulse thrums through my boulder into my feet, into my bones. Something about the vastness surrounds me with just enough pressure to tighten my chest. Beneath the surface of the water is a darkness promising a cold that will never leave my bones if I should fall.
I pinwheel my arms to catch my balance, heart chasing the adrenaline burning in my veins. Somewhere behind me I hear shouts; someone just filled their hunting tag.