When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.
Dad and I wake before school and notice the sun cresting over the horizon. Melting backwards above the water line, shining pink, purple and peaches over the water. Early mornings call for low voices, as if we talked any louder it would disturb the peace, so we whisper. The lake laps the sand, kissing it good morning.
Sitting on the beach on the edge of Lake Huron at 2 in the morning we listen to the fresh water lap on shore, the blanket under us and the moon bright above out heads, just our voices and the water. 17 years old, I felt rebellious being outside with a guy, my dad asleep at the house and the lake as beautiful as can be.
That same beach three years earlier, a small fire and remnants of marshmallows and Hershey wrappers, giggling girls worrying about soccer games, boys and finals week. We were a club that didn’t do anything special. We were watching the crescent moon rise, the stars fall and at 3am the Northern Lights peak above the horizon in an eerie glow that danced to the rhythm of the waves.
Lake Michigan: the other side of the state and bit further south. Eating ice cream with a man I’d later call my boyfriend—the conversation ranging from our pasts, to the confusion of the future. The lake laps laps laps and talks back to us. Months later we call it quits near that same beach. The water listens and doesn’t take sides.
The ocean. I live in the Mid Atlantic now and recently found myself on the beach at 1:30am wrapped in a Mexican blanket having one of those conversations; we talk about the greatness of having paddle boarded this morning, the uncertainties of jobs, relationships, life and decisions that need to be made sooner rather than later. The ocean laps too, the moon shines bright over head and the stars fall just the same as they do over the Great Lakes.
We whisper while putting the kayaks in the salty water, afraid to wake neighbors or disturb the osprey’s nest that is being built not far off shore. Hot coffee (with a nip of Kaluha) is bungeed in front of each of us, PB and Jelly sandwiches in a dry sack for later—we watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, we listen to the lapping of the waves and I notice as drops of water drip off my paddle. I propel myself through the oily water in a smooth cadence. Perfection in a silent sunrise. I’ve learned that water sounds the same everywhere. Water and water people come together and create something great.