Ships Passing in the Night


Michipicoton

We sleep on the cabin’s front porch, the side that faces the lake. During the day, we always come and go through the back porch, on the landward side of the cabin. At night though, I like to crack a window, so that I can hear the lake’s sounds. Frequently, there is wind, but more interesting are the sounds on a still night. If there is fog, then the passing lake boats sound their horns, either in warning, to the small boats or recognition, to their passing brethren. The lake boats all have radar and encrypted radios, so these salutes are now strictly ceremonial. These horns punctuate the steady, almost sub-audible rubble of their deep basal motors. A sound that you feel as much as you hear. After a boat passes you can hear lapping waves slap the beach, as their wake washes ashore. Before first light the seagulls begin calling, signaling like an annoying snooze alarm that it is time to roll over only one last time and go back to sleep for just a little while, because tomorrow is coming all too soon.

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