Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
TITLE: Fear Can Ruin a Good Time
By Linda Hull
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The alarm on my husband’s watch was jarring after a restless night in unfamiliar surroundings. I wasn’t ready to get up while the darkness of night was still upon us. However, my husband couldn’t wait to fish, so I reluctantly made myself ready as best I could in the dark.
Unaware of the nature of our surroundings, we made our way to the water’s edge using our flashlight to guide us. My husband quickly launched the canoe into the water and tied it to the mooring stake. After loading our gear, it was time to set off. I was a little nervous, fearful of tipping the canoe over and dumping us into the depths of the lake.
I’m not a swimmer, but I usually handle being on the water easily if I wear a life preserver. This time was different. As he paddled away from the shore, it was obvious there was no light to guide us. My husband was calm, seeming to know where he was going, and unaffected by the absence of light. I was beginning to panic.
The sound of the paddle dipping quietly into the water should have been relaxing. Yet I began to sweat, and my heart started to pound. I lost all sense of equilibrium because I couldn’t tell where the horizon was. All was dark and black. I understood then what is meant by not being able to see your hand in front of your face. Nausea rose in my throat and my anxiety was acute. I begged my husband to return to shore. His calm assurance that all was well did not help. I wanted off that boat!
As I fussed, I didn’t notice at first the now visible shapes of tree stumps in the water, or the lessening of the inky blackness of night. Dawn was beginning. The light was subtle, not particularly noticeable at first, but growing brighter with each moment’s passing. I began to get my bearings and to relax. Then I began to chuckle, for we weren’t far from shore after all.
Dipping his line in the water, it was soon obvious that the deep depths I had imagined in my fear amounted to only a couple of feet. The level of the lake was down due to drought. Light had revealed the truth about our surroundings, dispelling my fear the darkness had fed. With the coming of the dawn, I was hopeful that our weekend fishing excursion would be a success after all.
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