I’ve made my peace with the sand. It does no harm on the sheets. It isn’t dirt; with a gentle swipe, it brushes off. And when you’re on a whole bed of it, it’s a soft and malleable mattress — nature’s memory foam. Last night I fell asleep in a sleeping bag on the beach by the campfire, the sky a patchwork quilt of stars, now that the moon has turned down its brights and they can make their own brave candles seen.
A few hours earlier, I’d been lying on the lake, languidly backstroking and staring up at the perfectly blue sky, when the bald eagle flew over. It landed in a dead tree at our neighbors’, its white head and tail and brown body silhouetted across the azure. It let us walk right underneath it, eyeing up Otis as a possible meal as we approached. Cole stood on the bank directly below the tree, taking pictures. The eagle craned its head and stared down at him, perhaps sensing a kindred spirit in this towhead. Cole responded by going behind him and making screeching noises, like a baby bird. The eagle turned around and looked at him. You could see the muscles of his neck ripple, his eyes as he stared, his yellow talons holding the branch. Then he flew off, maybe looking for a smaller dog further up the beach. Cole says this avian visitor was the best part of the trip.
I’ve learned to accept the noises outside at night and let the sound of the waves lull me asleep. (It helps that the moon is no longer shining its full beacon through the tent windows, though what a sight it was when it was lighting up Cole’s face in the night, like a spotlight.) Last night I got up to go to the bathroom in the Port a Potty, and Paleface greeted me outside, rubbing against me, purring — he likes camping. It was still bright enough from the half moon and the stars that I didn’t need a flashlight. White wisps of cloud foregrounded the Milky Way. Maybe Paleface is right.
This morning I got up and the Lake was still, like glass. I dove in and took a morning bath. It’s so warm this year, there’s no gasp of shock when you hit the cold.