Halfway down the ninety-eight steps to Lake Michigan, wings flap as a pileated woodpecker lands on an oaken snag. It’s the largest woodpecker I have ever seen—its red crest blazes over white and black feathers. Mr. Darcy’s leash spins out, then holds taunt. The Labrador-mix yearns to rush down to the wild beach. For a moment, I pause on the wooden stairs. Above, the woodpecker’s hammering breaks the silence of morning; below, the dog whines, his whole body straining toward the water’s lapping edge.