We left at ten o'clock at night, on purpose. Night textures in a canoe bring stars from above right into your face gazing at the waters reflection. Waiting just barely off shore, I pick one star, dapple my paddle at it. Every conceivable sound is loud. Little rocks and sand scrunching under foot, never even noticed during the day, callout. A breeze just eases across my face without disturbing one leaf in any tree. Naps ended at just after seven pm. I am so awake. Before the sun set we ate leisurely, remaining sweet corn and grilled brats with heavy grained buns. We packed up using the last free daylight and lounged around until it was completely dark. Two canoes set at the ready, only absent four humans of which I'm sure after this trip, not one among us wants to ever go home. We douse a lazy fire. Cool night air set in, that set us off. Nobody feels the need to talk. The lakes surface is glass flat. Headlamps and flashlights were banned. I untucked my shirt at the waist. My cap I seat high on my forehead to allow for any of the nights luminescence. My canoe follows nothing more than a dark silhouette with a set of canoe tracks V'ing away from the stern of our leader's canoe. I let the leader get further away at night than during the day, he's easier to see at a distance at night. We paddle for better than two hours to acheive the take out during which time one owl hooted, and set off a loon chortle. Nobody said a word; nobody stopped paddling, and then a bird ghosted low across the lake and I had to imagine anybody else that saw what I saw, was sure it was the same owl. An island we sped past days ago looms much longer at night with no wind at our backs. Now the shoreline in front us is a black wall growing taller by the paddle stroke. It swallows up skyline eliminating stars from view. I hear them beach. Just before our turn at the shore I halt the little vessels progress and wait again until the water is a mirrored surface of the sky above. I poke one more star, and then we paddle in. The trout whisperer

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