The trail to the edge of the cape begins in deep woods. Ocean mist hangs in the trees like the trailing beard of a leftover god and rain collects in the bowels of tree roots. Water seeps in through the lining of boots, is wicked up along our pant legs. At first, the air is soft, like moss clinging to a tree limb, but the closer we get to the cliff edge, it grows harsher, louder. Wind is gathering over the open water and racing towards us. When we round a bend we are blown back by the force of it. The moisture in my nose is pushed back down my throat. For a moment, I gasp and blink like a newborn when you have blown gently across their face. Our coats billow and we arch our bodies, make curves of ourselves, shallow containers to receive the wind.
"Not too close to the edge," I say to a teenage boy before the daring has a chance to travel from his eyes to his feet. There is only the smallest wall of shrubbery separating us from the drop. For a moment I picture him lifted up and tossed, blown out over the grey sheet of ocean below us. I want to grab him, pull him into myself, but I move along the path instead, will myself to trust.
The wind grows stronger as we near the end of the trail. We don't speak. We bend into the wind and push forward, eyes watching the trail ahead, watching for mud holes and tree roots that might catch our feet and send us sprawling.
When the trail ends we look at each other with watery eyes and big smiles, lean over the wire rail to see if any whales are swimming below. There was one once, a pale white shadow, torpedo-shaped, hovering just below the surface. We watched him for twenty minutes or so, afraid to blink or move, afraid he'd flick his tail and melt away from us. Even now I feel like if I rub my eyes he might be there, waiting for us, waiting to tell us that underneath there is no wind, the water is gentle and cool, and time moves slower there. But he is gone and all I see are the tops of waves, foaming and fractious. Another gust of wind careens into us and we laugh, but the sound is jerked away and gone.
Above us, a pair of ravens is struggling against the current of air. We watch them make the painfully slow distance from the cape's edge to a stand of trees, angling first one way, then another, like sailboats tacking. All at once, they turn swiftly, put their backs to the wind and shoot across the sky in front of us, disappearing around the edge of the cape. My life feels like that sometimes, I think: all the work erased in a moment. Suddenly they are back, black sails fighting against the wind, one wing forward, then another. As we watch, they reach the trees and turn again, sledding across the air at impossible speeds. "They're playing!" I shout, and we watch them again, open-mouthed.
Look, they are saying, everything is joy. Everything is joy.