On the Water

Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine|July 2020

On the Water
A meditative morning paddle on Benzie County's Crystal Lake
CAROL VOTAW

The beach is awash in cool shadows. Tall white pines and ancient cedars cast giant patterns across the sand. Sunlight dances on the water. Morning is waking.

I slide my kayak into Crystal Lake and a chevron ripple flows behind me. I dip my paddle into the calm and pull. In moments, I leave the shady beach behind and slip into warm sunshine. Shades of blue stretch out before me: a robin’s egg sky, a lake, luminescent and reflective, a summer morning expanding. Gliding over the shallows, I see clouds of minnows. Spooked, they disappear like slippery ghosts, leaving only a maze of unwary snails along the sandy bottom.

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July 2020