The hilltop dune rises above Michigan’s shore in an arc of pure white, ancient as the lurching staircase. Handrails offer splinters to the grip of a summer child, and bare feet, tender from the climb, wind the apex path past a mottled green door to the crest of ribbon sand shining in late morning sun. Eternal sky-face above the blank-white ridge, spikes of tall grass dividing into soft trail that will fall, fall, fall under her weight.
Mouth closed, should she drop from flight head-first and gasp grains of sand. Legs lift, then touch into drifts of forgiving white. Speed at the turning, and impossible freedom. Laughter erupts like the wild cry of a gull, to fall and fall and fall.
Under her feet, dry sand sings a whale song.
Dune angles away. Breath catches solid earth while a heart is beating and the lake is laughing its own blue-green witness. Then the magnetic southerly lean, hand reaching to grasp the brown rail squared above wooden risers. Breathe and ascend, touching every tread, toe after toe, to the velvet top of the sand hill roost.
And run it again.