On a visit to Lake Superior

Sometimes, when I am sitting alone on a shoreline, or on a hilltop, or next to a rambling river where wild things grow and growl, and black bugs crawl, where the earth shines with flecks of quartz, and weedy flowers sprout whole from slabs of rock and bloom the color of the sun, I wonder how we got it wrong.

I wonder what it is that compels us to love and to hate and to wage war and to concern ourselves with things as mundane as pleasure or gossip or politics. We go through the same motions others have traveled; they are well worn, threadbare, and they should read like road maps, like stories told, like bones that have already been thrown. Yet we struggle; we think each turn and desire born to us anew, unique and singular. And others will do this again, and again, and again, long after we are gone.

This place, where I am now, feels so small, in a world full of small places, knitted together in one mountainous fabric. I am sitting on a grassy rise of earth overlooking a lake so great it might as well be an ocean. Below me foams a small harbor, carved into the side of a peninsula. Dark brown rock forms a broken coastline, interrupted by a small stretch of sandy beach where the harbor hugs the town.

These are the only sounds: wind through leaves; waves on rock; the reedy call of a lone bird, a sleek, black-winged thing that lands for moment on the abandoned pier before taking off with a whisper of wings, heading west over the blue horizon.