Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by B.j. Yudelson
Silence is so deep that water flowing over a two-foot high beaver dam roars like Niagara. We turn back, my husband and sister in the tandem canoe, I, in my solo. I let them paddle ahead, chatting.
Drifting with the current, barely steering, I listen to the quiet. Wind whispers through marsh grasses. Birds punctuate the crickets' atonal concerto with flute-like solos. My canoe rustles like green silk over lily pads. A fly darts off a pink blossom, its buzz a harsh counterpoint to the soft, silken swish.
Drifting, dreaming, I eavesdrop on nature, absorbed in the noisy silence. Like a thunderclap, my paddle bangs against the canoe and startles me. I dip more carefully into the clear stream. Wind murmurs all around. Crickets continue their clatter, birds their trilling conversations.
Where the stream meets Forked Lake, a crow atop a scraggly pine caws its control. Loudly. Assertively. It drowns out the hushed inlet sounds.
I paddle hard to catch up with the other canoe. The sacred silence vanishes into the distant rumble of motorboats.
B.J. Yudelson first took up canoeing at summer camp more than half a century ago. When not in her canoe or at her computer, she is sometimes (but too seldomh) visiting nine grandchildren on both coasts.
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