I saw the island as we drove into the park. I want to go there.
So we drove to the beach, dropped our stuff under a cottonwood, and I waded into the water. It was chilly; I went slow so my body could get used to it. Then I swam over the buoys and into the big water.
Out in the channel, it was pretty chilly. I saw my arms move through the green water, but I had no idea about what could be swimming below me. That's a long swim. I looked back. Can I make it? Is it worth it?
If only for the workout, yes. I kept going, watching out for boats and making a big splash at any headed my way. It was a long swim. But once I started seeing cottonwood seeds on the water, I knew I was close. I swam over the tops of drowned birches and waded through drowned grass to reach the shore.
Once there, I headed inland. The grass bent beneath my feet and made for a nice cushion. I walked towards the ridge, skirting the thistles and walking through the deer beds. It looked like no one had ever been on the island.
Up on the ridge - if it could be called a ridge - I looked up and saw a large buck. He stood there, silhouetted against the water, the sun shining on his golden back. It was a perfect picture, with the grass covering his legs and the blue sky covering everything. He looked at me, and I looked at him. His antlers were rounded and fuzzy. Young whitetail?
He took a few steps toward me and put his head down. I took a step. He looked up. I froze. He continued walking toward me, followed by a younger buck. They both walked towards me.
I took a step towards them and they bolted, blowing air through their nostrils. I didn't see white tails. They bounded through the grass, down towards the trees and the water. I never saw them again.
I followed them to the other side of the island. I laughed out loud, running through the grass, surrounded by water, bathed in sunshine, under the big blue sky. On the other side, there were cliffs, looking over the water, with deer beds on top. Wouldn't it be awesome to sleep in the deer beds, just a couple feet from the cliff's edge, and wake up to a sunrise over the water?
I explored the cliffs a bit, above and below. Found a beach with lots of shale rock, good for skipping. Found a piece of petrified wood.
I headed back towards the park, slipped into the water, and made for a trail I saw on the other side. Four loons swam across in front of me. Their red eyes watched me; they'd dive under the water and reappear thirty yards away. I wish I could have heard them sing. I wish you could have heard them sing.
Across the water again, I walked through fields of wildflowers and grass. I headed back to the beach, sat down and thought about how amazing the earth is.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...