Treasure Lake – Moonless

The silence in the afternoon heat on the small river was ominous. The cacophony of bird and insect songs had died away as if on siesta in the midday sun. It was fortuitous however, because Caroline Rich was able to hear a hacking cough and spitting in the dense foliage to their right.

is 1

“Stay quiet,” Caroline whispered. “They’re over there somewhere. I heard a guy coughing.”

“You’re right,” Solly Cohen said. “I smell cigar smoke.”

“I can see it!” Phyllis Snitzer said.

“It’s a good thing we stopped to discuss how to proceed,” Rob Snitzer said.

“How will we proceed, come to think of it?” Solly said.

“I’m sure they don’t want to spend the night,” Caroline said. “They’ll probably take off long before it gets dark.”

They sat in their canoes in the shade of overhanging willows. Quietly, they made ham and cheese sandwiches and drank some of their bottled water. They all took an afternoon nap. They hadn’t realized how much energy they had exhausted, as well as the toll taken by stress. Caroline and Phyllis in their bow positions lay back onto the packs that filled the centre of each canoe. With their hats over their faces, they dozed.

Solly and Rob, in the stern seats, lay back onto the small. They also fell fitfully asleep. Rob was the first to get up, wakened by the active insects that swarm after sundown. Darkness was only an hour away, and the aircraft hadn’t moved. Its engine was so loud, it could not possibly have started up without waking them.

Again, even over the din from the night creatures, coughing could be heard from the plane’s hiding place, and the cigar smoke continued to foul the pristine forest fragrance.

“This might be a break for us,” Rob said. “In the dark, we can cut straight across the lake.”

“What if they hear us?” Phyllis said.

“Solly and I can paddle silently, like the natives did,” Rob said. “We learned how at summer camp, years ago.”

“So if you don’t know how, just don’t paddle,” Solly said.

“It’s no big deal,” Caroline said. “You just have to break the water gently to avoid making an audible splash.”

“And don’t hit the gunnel with the paddle,” Phyllis said.

“Okay,” Rob said, “You know how to do it. So let’s eat light and wait ‘til after eleven to cross.”

morning-moon-oct-20-13

“Why after eleven,” Solly said.

“The moon will be down by then.  It’s going to be bright tonight, and it’s going to set at about ten-thirty.” Rob said.

The time dragged and they were getting stiff from sitting in the canoes for so many hours. Finally, the sky grew darker as the moon sank below the horizon. With the removal of the brightness that obliterated most of the distant stars, the pure sky shed a dim, serene light. There were billions of tiny specks of light beyond the more familiar, closer stars.

is

The surface of the lake was absolutely motionless, like a black mirror.  As the four friends set out to stealthily cross the lake, the stars appeared to envelope them. The stars above were reflected flawlessly in the mirror surface, giving the canoeists the sensation of paddling through eternity, with stars all around, above and below them.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: