The wind east over Lake Muskegon made for challenging paddling west into the open lake. I had put in at Heritage Landing with great difficulty, the docks more suited for ships of greater draw, recently the Santa Maria tall ship, a replica of a Christopher Columbus ship. More than six years ago, I boarded the Friends Goodwill at this Dock, a museum ship that had sailed up from South Haven. I had boarded with an excursion of art collectors from the Muskegon Museum of Art, a group led by two art historians on staff. The two talked about Impressionism and pointillism, using the colors of the lake and the evening sunscape to illustrate their points. The lesson wasn't lost on me and tonight's sky outdid an image from Monet's oeuvre. After struggle, I lowered myself down a cliff almost as high as I am tall, pulled kayak after me and balanced kayak on the rocks in order to board and push off.
I couldn't oppose the wind easily, and water rode waves into my boat if I paddled parallel to them. So I let the wind and waves push me into a lagoon, under a arch of a bridge surmounted by deck and pergola. As I passed under the pergola at the arch, I remembered last weekend's video taken as a friend and her friends sailed a pontoon underneath and experienced Jazz Festival jazz from a watery amphitheater.
I was pushed along until a patch of lily pads and arrowroot jutting a foot out of the water slowed my motion to a halt. Bees were working the flowered spikes of purple flowers produced by the arrowheads. I counted one lotus blossom, illegal to pick, and since sitting in a kayak requires sitting lotus position or at least barebacked, I closed my eyes to meditate. I let go of work. I let go of a list of situations, samsara afoot. I let go of letting go.
Sadly, like a bad naturalist, my presence set a mallard family into flight.
The wind pushed kayak out of the lily pads and around all Arrowroots, and I contemplated pulling out for the night. I made instead against the lesser wind and beheld a planetary clock. The moon was rising almost full among grey clouds of a front making for Lansing. The molten golden orb of sun, exactly, had plunged into the lake beneath an incoming front. A mother and daughter and a photographer stood on the pergola arch, snapping senior pictures, that spectacle making an alchemical background. People parked at Heritage Landing raised their arms as if in praise or supplication. All were capturing that molten ball of foundry gold as it vanished without raising boils or steam.
I could have returned to the rocks and pushed my kayak up the short cliff. Put my kayak in the Subaru and gone home early. Dusk had calmed the waves and my energy had rallied. I was going to celebrate the beauty of the lake by making for the Lake House, passing by Max McKee's Freighter and its barge, the pair moored at Mart Dock. I paddled with renewed vigor, imagining a fine pint.
How long this required has been lost in the water. Not too long, I perceived the tiki torches burning bright to light the outdoor deck and the song of a beautiful woman carried over the waves. The moon rose to a position over the ten stories of the Shoreline Inn tower. I made for tower and chanteuse and tiki torches and, yes, my Michigan microbrew of the mind.
As the wind again propelled me through the harbor, I joyfully identified the band. Julia and the Greensides had launched into a final song for the night, Home by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes. What a perfect song to welcome a lad back from the waters. I hurried to dock my craft and let Derek Dile and his partners know personally.