An hour on the lake

The cove resonated with yells and the incessant thump and scrape of paddles against gunwales. Occasionally a louder voice called an instruction or a bit of advice, but for the most part the yells were from the kids, struggling against inexperience and each other for control of their boats.

Here, out on the lake, it was quieter. The yells bounced off the mountains but were deafened shadows by the time they untangled themselves from the lines of forest separating me from the canoe camp. Tomorrow would be their first day on moving water and six, seven boats would go over. After lunch they’d play games, and I’d do six, seven rescues per boat. But for now they were with another counselor, and some were on the beach, so this hour was mine.

Tomorrow I’d probably be in a playboat, a small plastic kayak that fit tightly around my body. I’d have to paddle fast and upstream from boat to boat to teach, correct, and rescue. Today we were on a lake and they didn’t need my help yet, and I was in a bulky school district tandem canoe that moved about as readily as a tree stump.

I dropped my paddle into the boat and leaned my hands on the black gunwales behind me. In half an hour they’d be scalding hot, but as yet the sun had heated them to just warmer than the air. I closed my eyes and dangled my feet over the bow in the cool water. I stayed there for a few minutes, letting the July sun pulse warmth into my skin like it did the gunwales. Occasionally the remains of a distant motorboat’s wake would rock my boat, but otherwise it was still. I’d drifted far enough from the cove for the air to be still as well, still and silent except for an occasional bird. Maybe I’d stay there longer, maybe I’d drop into the water and swim. Time stretched and spread itself through the lake and curved over the mountains. For once I had no schedule to follow, no places to be. I was just there, with the mountains and the lake and the sun, and this hour was mine.


~ by science cow on September 23, 2009.

3 Responses to “An hour on the lake”

  1. English is most definitely a double and you should declare it as such.

    You seem to have found an application of my definition of wilderness. Lovely. Do you mind if I link here from that entry?

    • I agree, English is definitely a double, but I’ve been a bit hesitant to declare it because not everyone in our English class programs.

      And sure; I’d be honored! ^ ^

  2. This is such a lovely description, Lydia. Feels like the start of a story. I admire how it jumps right into the scene with action and sound immediately. It’s full of great sensory details–we feel the cool water and hear the yells bouncing off the mountains. I particularly like the wording here: “Time stretched and spread itself…and curved over the mountains.” Well done!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: