The Night Paddle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 17, 2012
We float out into the middle of the lake. The canoe’s metal sides are cold and hard against my skin, and the air is like a frigid blanket, inspiring goose bumps to spring up on my legs. The only sounds are the oars being eased into the black water, pulling, emerging, and descending again. The dark water laps against the sides of the canoe, licking its metal surface. A boat scrapes against another and the sound is harsh, an earsplitting shriek in the silence of the night.

Tall pines loom over the water, reaching for the dark sky. Like fingers of a huge hand, they point toward the heavens, but the sky pays no heed; why would it want to share its grandeur with another? As selfish as man is the sky, though it has glory enough to throw some down to earth and still keep plenty for itself. Millions of stars twinkle in the blackness of space, creating a painting of lights upon the canvas of the sky – a celestial painting, an impersonation of Aphrodite herself – so amazing it makes me wonder, for this could only be a bit of Eden shining down upon us. But no, it remains the sky. Only the sky, yet so beautiful that I wonder why I have never seen it before. Every person on this earth, and everyone who has ever been and will ever be, is in that sky, each one a small, twinkling jewel embedded in the black expanse of the heavens.

Just another star apparent, I sit in the canoe. Who knows where this life will take me. But I know that one day, I will see those stars again – maybe even sit among them, looking down on earth.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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