To Upper Goose But Not Back

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The air warmed our skin as we made our way down the lush, grassy hill in the summer of 1999. Although it was well after noon, I felt anything but tired. My brother and I excitedly carried our canoe from the boathouse into the lake. We were going to take a journey to the other end of the lake. Alex boarded the canoe and rowed it to the end of the dock. I got in and we sat, floating a few feet. Meanwhile, our brother Aaron assembled his Sunfish sailboat with its blue platform and fluorescent, striped sail.

The lake was calm and quiet, the water silky smooth. I gripped the metal pole of the paddle. It had turned warm from the sun. Dipping the paddle into the lake, I swooshed it around and was soothed by the sound. I watched the water droplets slide off the smooth, plastic blade when I lifted it out of the lake. Getting into the Sunfish, Aaron called, “Start rowing! I’ll catch up.” The water eddied in the wakes of our paddles. We led the way with Aaron zigzagging behind, reeling in his sail and turning his rudder to catch the zephyrs that drifted over the lake.

Alex and I, children in search of adventure, headed for some reeds in the shallow water near the shore. Plowing through them as they stretched above us, we pretended it was a jungle. When the reeds ended, the soft silence flooded into our ears again.

As we made our way up the lake, homeward breezes formed. Rippling the water, the breeze refreshed us and gave Aaron’s sail more lift.

Finally we reached the opposite shore of the lake. Alex and I propelled the canoe into the shore. The canoe scraped the mud and rocks beneath it. Aaron lifted his centerboard and glided onto shore beside us.

The three of us explored the area. We perused the ground for thin, flat rocks for skipping. But suddenly, the sky’s blue was obscured by shades of gray fluff. The breezes graduated into high winds and the ripples into choppy water. Storms always blew in fast over Goose Pond Lake; we needed to get home. Aaron jumped into his sailboat, and Alex instructed, “Emily, help me get the canoe in the water!” We pushed the canoe off shore, jumped in, and paddled. But we were too weak. The wind smashed the canoe against the shore. We stuck our paddles into the ground and pushed off from the shore with all our might. It was no use. Frantic and frustrated, Aaron yelled at us, “Try harder!” The rain and the lightning would start soon. Our little “adventure” through the reeds paled in comparison.

Helpless and at the mercy of a thunderstorm, our hearts heaved with hope when a motorboat appeared in the distance, chugging towards us at full speed. It was Mom and Dad! They could tow us back before the rain started. We were saved.





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