Merrimac, Michigan

Across the bay, afternoon sun illuminates the north end of Plum Island, where we walked this morning and where fresh water meets salt. In this harbor town of Newburyport, my friend and I sit on a third-floor deck overlooking the intersection of the Merrimack River and the Atlantic. A lull in conversation announces that after half a year, she and I have just about caught up. We open long-neck steamers one by one and eavesdrop on other tables.

As rain pours down day after day in Denver, I rest my eyes on the kind of green that just doesn’t grow there, regardless of how much rain we get. Here is the emerald green of coastline marsh, a weighty green edged by black mud. This serrated shore abuts year-round water that goes on and on and on.

The next day, I’m at 30,000 feet looking down at a Great Lake, but which one? All I know is that it isn’t my great lake, not Michigan. The south shore of this other fresh-water ocean is almost touching farmland, near wide-open countryside. A little later, big water gleams below again, and I look for the Indiana Dunes lakeshore, bracketed by the cooling tower of a nuclear power plant and the vertical stacks of steel mills. This next great lake is also not my lake, not where my body learned to be a body in water, a body at rest. Just inside this other lake’s curved edges hangs a long border of brightness–not beach, not yet, but submerged sand waiting for small summer waves to lift it ashore.

If we do fly over the lake of my life, clouds block it from view. Finally, I see Colorado’s eastern plains. Vapor mountain-shapes on the horizon slowly give way to the line of jagged, white-tipped peaks telling me I am almost home.

By Jenny-Lynn

Jenny-Lynn is a former psychotherapist living in Denver and in South Park, Colorado. Her essays have appeared in The Colorado Sun, Pithead Chapel, and Dreamer's Creative Writing. She blogs at and can be found on Instagram @writeriderepeat.

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