You leave the apartment, the air still and hot and humid. Sweat runs in your eyes while your arms are full carrying everything down to the car. But it’s sunny outside and there are birds singing and you breathe in deep.
You could use the air conditioning in the car but you don’t. You drive down I-94 east with the windows down and the wind blasting you, tousling your hair. The sun is above and will stay there for a while and the river is 10 miles ahead.
It’s a relief when the exit finally comes, a few miles shy of the bluffs. Now it will be hilly two-lane country highways, driveways leading to farms set back in some trees. You go south 10 miles and then turn east to make the final jog to the river.
At the park parking lot you decide who’s going to carry what and who will take the dog and then set off, burdened with a cooler and chairs and a bag with towels and snacks and what all in it. The trail is short and steep down to the river, you meet just a few other people on the walk down.
Warm winds are blowing
a risen moon, full, milk-white
what hours remain?
~ haiku by katie
Where the trail guides you toward the public beach with ropes and buoys and a dock and a lifeguard, you turn the other way and walk 100 yards. There, a wooden staircase leads down to another beach. The staircase is a little rougher every year, and picking careful footing down is hardest for whoever has the dog pulling toward the water which she now sees.
Finally, you step off uneven rocks into the sand. It is an unassuming beach, just the sand deposited where a cold creek enters the river. There is nobody else down there and you and her and the dog walk down and cross the creek where it bisects the beach, the water is achingly cold on your ankles, the dog doesn’t notice.
Clouds above pine bluffs
Cast shadows on the water
You drink in the sun