In the canyon of the Agawa, I wish the conductor a comfortable ride north, but he shrugs it aside. He is circumspect regarding my lack of a compass or suitable timetable, my headlong hike into the ragged outback of this stunning October day.
The diesel train pulls away, bound for Hawk Junction, Franz, Oba and Hearst. Soon I am immersed in a sea change of blurred colours. Footsteps select out the littoral, then the lateral: patterns of a water course, intersecting villages of plant life, subtle traces of insects. Splendid hardwoods of sugar maple and yellow birch scout at the very edges of their northern range, experimenting with every nuance of the colour spectrum. It is my choice to flirt with the unknowable, to court this spirit world. There is no easy trail of bread crumbs to follow, only this tangled yarn.