Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Lake (incomplete and abridged)

It would be impossible to exhaustively expound on the subject of last weekend and it would be equally impossible to ignore it altogether as I have on this blog up to this point in the week. The unhappy medium is, of course, to give you a little taste without spending more time than is good for man writing it all out in one shot.

It was a cabin on a lake to which we, the youth of the Lynden OCRC, traversed for a night of doing nothing of anything in particular. A few guests and a bunch of food were enough to complete the setting on a human level. Then there are the other levels though.

This lake is small by most standards, but it hides many surprises. Looking out over its dark yet clear expanse and forested shores one might leave without a hint of all the concealed inlets and fen-like passages navigable only with the smallest of watercraft. The more obvious features are striking on their own merit. In one wing of the lake is a platform of logs floating on the surface, although anchored there by some old tree stumps still rooted to the bottom of the lakebed. In another wing stands a spectacle not easily forgotten. For anyone who sees the two ancient looking trees, stripped of all branches, pointing like twin gate posts toward the sky not more than 10 feet apart from each other, their thoughts usually run back in time to all the childhood stories about portals to other worlds! What's even better is the feeling you get as you row a boat through them and then imagine you are seeing a Narnian fawn upon the shore, a beaver calling from his home in the middle of the lake and perhaps, with a little peripheral vision, a tree can be seen to stretch its branches like arms before dozing off again.

The evening was made for countless memories. It had rained all week but stopped the night before the trip. When we went out in the rowboat at various times throughout the evening, the clear moonless sky and still air offered the perfect opportunity to row around in the darkness for hours, each person lost in their own imagination and only telling the stories fit for verbal renditions. There we were, looking up at the stars, noting this or that about our elementary knowledge of Astronomy, peering at the dark and the mysterious shoreline through the thin mist, and shining flashlights into the dark underworld over which we were smoothly gliding with each gentle oar stroke. So enthralling was the sense of surrealism, some of us couldn't be pulled off the lake until well after midnight.

A separate post could go on forever about the humor and insanity or downright freakiness of some moments. One such example was during our lake adventures. Myself and four girls (my sister Beka being one) were taking one of our first trips through the portal in the evening when Andrea's flashlight beam caught a disturbing image in its harsh glare. The nervous tension was evident in her voice when she called our attention to the object of her unease.

"Um, guys...there's a man out there," she said in a low tone.

My first glance wanted to confirm the apparition of a man lying on his back on one of the floating logs, head hanging back off the end, with an elbow arched somewhat over the top. Bearing in mind that my crew would not appreciate the spooky appearance of a real man of dubious origin and status in this world on a log in the misty, moonless darkness, I firmly told myself and the others that it was nothing more than an odd shape on the top of a log.

(hmm...that arm looked like it moved)

"The reflection of the flashlight on the water makes it look like that," I ventured confidently, and I really was convinced I was right. Funny thing, then, that I should feel so queasy each time I looked back at "it."

"That is actually really weird," I added after more reflection.

I'm not sure if anyone noticed Kristi with her hands pressed to her ears, her eyes closed, and her head pressed to someone's side. By this time I was rowing the boat back to port. Unsettled as we were, I didn't want to place unflinching faith in the nerves of the others on board. Me being the only guy, I think I felt a certain duty to turn the boat’s head towards "safety" or at least where the others would feel the safest...

Again the beam shined on the log and the truth suddenly became clear to me: it wasn't a log at all. The other end of the "log" was now included in the picture and it was quite easy now to see it for what it was: the prow of the other row boat sticking up a little out of the water. It most certainly was a man on the back end. About four of the other guys were there lying down in the boat, hoping to escape our detection long enough for them to prepare a surprise visit in the middle of the lake.

None of the girls were sorry to spoil their fun; but as long as our fun wasn't spoiled by a midnight dip in the lake, I was fine and even a little thrilled by the spooky effect they had inadvertently administered.

And now I'm reminding myself of my own statement regarding the impossibility of finishing the complete and unabridged version of the weekend's saga in one post. Thus I'm led to conclude that I have written more than enough for one night.
<< Home 16 Comments:
Blogger Andrea said...

Hey Mark awesome post. I knew you would be able desribe it so much better than I did in my attempt. I wish I could figure out how to add links to others pepole's blogs from my own because I would definatly add yours to give people a better idea of what went on.I hope you will write more about our little excursions later!

11:26 AM, April 14, 2005  
Blogger Kat said...

Mark, Thank you. You are truely a master story-teller. :) That was exactly how it happened, and delightfully so. I hope there are more vignettes to come.

12:19 PM, April 14, 2005  
Blogger Rebekah said...

Yeah. Thanks for immortalizing (is that a word?) that glorious night for us! Wonderfully accounted. =)

1:39 PM, April 14, 2005  
Blogger Mark R said...

As soon as Kristi comments, we will have the complete list of passengers on the spooked voyage!

12:05 AM, April 15, 2005  
Blogger Crystal said...

Sounds like a wonderful evening/night! I could almost picture the little boat event! That combinded with the comment on Beka's blog about the worms certainly made me laugh...thanks for sharing.

1:04 PM, April 15, 2005  
Blogger Kristi said...

Here I am! finally!--last of the TOTALLY spooked out voyagers!
Excellent post. Well accounted. I kind of wished I had kept my eyes open a little more. After I saw that human elbow, I was gone...

10:30 PM, April 15, 2005  
Blogger Kristi said...

Some nurse I am-eh?

10:40 PM, April 15, 2005  
Blogger Sara said...

It sound like I missed out on an awesome night. Could you have crammed one more person in the boat???

9:33 AM, April 16, 2005  
Blogger Mark R said...

Not unless we had two people which case, I not have thought of going out. I'm such snob about letting others do the rowing you know. :)

But yes, you missed an awesome night.

4:13 PM, April 16, 2005  
Blogger Andrea said...

How well we know you don't like to let others row:)Oh well I can't row very well anyway:)

2:22 PM, April 17, 2005  
Blogger Conservation Terms said...

Kristi, you should have gone over there and with a great big 4 inch needle that my dad uses said, "Okay folks, tonight we will be preforming a delicate operation envolving the chest cavity. Highly dangerous and injury is a prominent risk:) Needle,....knife,.....jigsaw,...Oh,are you not supposed to use power tools in operation?"

6:11 PM, April 17, 2005  
Blogger Kristi said...

LOL...the crew would have dumped me on the boat with the "dead" person and left me there for good had I done that!...but yes, that would have been fun :D

12:04 AM, April 18, 2005  
Blogger Conservation Terms said...

Yeah, I guess they would have:)

9:08 AM, April 18, 2005  
Blogger Ken said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:59 PM, April 19, 2005  
Blogger Ken said...

Great story Mark, you really do write well. I am really glad you visited my site so I could find yours. I work 7 to 5 every day and am raising a family while my wife works nights. I sometimes feel like it would be nice to relive the adventures of my youth. Your story just took me there again. The Camaraderie, the elements, the thrills..... thanks for taking me along with you guys, even if it was just text on my screen.

7:02 PM, April 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree. You do a great job at taking us with you, Mark. Know I just have to wait till my heart slows down a little!

2:42 PM, April 20, 2005  

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