By Christian Sopkowiak
Mosquitos, each one of them wanting a taste of blood, surrounded me. I swatted them away as they came but their numbers always seem endless when a body of water is nearby. I eventually killed one on my forearm; the mosquito was now only a red bloody spot on my body. The icy air sent shivers through me as I wondered why the mosquitos were out at this time of day. It was a beautiful but unfriendly Minnesota morning. I was standing on the shore of the enormous Lake Superior in the confines of a cold but welcoming Minnesota. The sand crunched beneath my feet and the cool air breathed continuously across the shore. My eyes were adjusting to the rising sun; its crimson rays were inviting as well as striking.
I exhaled heavily to see my breath take form in front of me. The air was an oddly calming tinge of frigid. It was spring and the lake was just getting used to being free from the rigid ice. I had begun to feel the shivering tingle of lake water drift in between my toes. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. I was too close to the shore but the water is exactly what I needed to wake me. I decided to sit down in the sand with my knees high and my arms wrapped around my legs.
I stared out into the lake, the water shone bright as an occasional wave lapped up the air. Some moments there would be a fish flopping in and out of the water, others there would be a loon cooing, and others there would be a bird of prey swooping in for its breakfast. The lake’s greenish blue tinge entranced me for a few moments; the lack of movement on the surface calmed my nerves for a bit.
That is when I stretched my mouth to smile at the lake. The water again brushed against my toes and the restful wind hit my cheek. As the sun rose that morning, I decided to stand up from the brittle sand. I looked at my hands after I stood; sand and blood caked my palms and fingers. The blood spread to my white shoes and jeans, the stains would take forever to get out.
“It would be so much simpler if we were free,” I said aloud. That is when I heard the police sirens behind me. My eyes drifted to the lake again. An eagle clenched a trout in its talons and flew off into the distance, into the clouds.