Finally, our rescuers arrived! It was a family, a man and his wife and three children who had tagged along for the ride. Not a moment too soon did they come, for the storm clouds gathering to the north were ominous, and the wind was picking up. Our boat was tied to theirs, and we began our slow crawl home, travelling at a mere fraction of the speed at which we had first forayed into the unknown.
It was late--half past six or thereabouts, and many of us began to contemplate the evening meal. My mother had thought to bring plenty of snacks, and so we shared popcorn and beef jerky and finished the last of the beverages. Though I have the good fortune to not be nauseous on watercrafts, I will rarely eat aboard one. I made an exception for the popcorn.
The clouds chased us. I was glad that we were going away from them. A sunset peeked through the bilious clouds, made all the more brilliant by the tinting effect of the sunglasses I'd scarcely removed since the start of our voyage. I gazed at the sunset, I gazed at the sparkling waves as they rose to meet us, I gazed at the verdant beauty of the lakeside forest. A beautiful time of year it was, late summer, nature resting in its glory of deepest greens and tiniest flowers and steadfast branches before autumn's chill. I absorbed it, for this is the stuff that books are made of.
Looking at trees and sunsets is well and good, but after forty-five minutes, it became dull. I suppose moving five miles per hour on a boat, especially when one has been stuck on said boat for seven or eight hours, is not an altogether interesting activity. So boredom peaked in the vessel, and I led my sister in an interminable camp song. "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea," it was called, and my mother lent us her extravagant vocal ability.
"There's a log in the hole in the bottom of the sea," we said as we passed a patch of pine trees, darkening the forest ever so ominously. "There's a bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea," we chanted as the storm clouds drew closer to us. "There's a fly on the frog on the bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea," we recited as we rounded a small peninsula and found that we were no longer running from the clouds. "There's a wing on the flea on the fly on the frog on the bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea," we said as the smallest raindrops began to fall.
But we arrived at our dock, alive and uninjured, just before the storm truly began.
The boat came alongside a pier, and the women collected their belongings as the men saw to the technical aspects of the boat. My sister stayed behind with them, but my Uncle Joseph came back to the house to get his truck and trailer with which to tow the boat to the store from whence it was purchased. It was still under warranty.
And so, with gleeful hearts and shivering bodies, we clamored into the ATVs and flew down forest paths, just as the heavens let loose their fury and rain came down in torrents. I was glad to arrive home safe at my uncle's cabin, even if I could still feel the boat moving beneath me.
I took a shower, I consumed a sandwich, and I retreated into my bedroom to steady my nerves after the long and tedious day that had befell me. And then I thought to myself, "What a story today would make!"
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.