Rei continues to paddle us far ahead of the others. She pays no heed to the pace of Fort-he. He warns her that the canoe will flip. At several points we nearly crash into a log and he yells “Left Left!” or “Right Right!”
Suddenly it’s a tree that stretches across half the river with it’s web like branches. Long stick limbs like fingers stretch across the river and reach out from under water for us. The water itself had suddenly picked up speed and it all happens too fast. Fort-he is yelling and I fumble with my umbrella reaching for my paddle. Too late. The boat flips and we are in the water. I feel my umbrella pressed against my back as the half turned boat is before us is held tight in the might trees grip. I can see it being pulled further into that branchy web by the force of the current. Fort-he grabs the boat and stops it from being pulled in further with the panic strength of he-man on adrenaline. Rei does the same with silent determination and concentration. All this as I hold my twisted tea in the air and grab the cooler. Booze first you know. I’m quickly handed their two paddles. “Hold these they cost money!” I am told. I step back away from the battle. I am the keeper of items, our valuable treasure. I suppose my ability to maintain my umbrella, beer, and save the cooler proved my place on the team.
“We’re missing a paddle!” I inform them.
Much to my horror I realize the current is stronger there at the tree. Both Rei and Fort-he are being pulled into the branches with the sinking canoe. They are literally within the web of sticks and twigs getting sucked in deeper by the second.
Help arrives in the form of a well experienced father daughter team. The girl may be a teenager but they both seem to have done this before so we welcome the assistance. They walk right into the web of branches showing no fear. They grab the boat and help begin to pull it out of the monsters grip.
My paddle is found and it is handed to me. I am holding a large stack of things at this point standing right in the middle of the river as other canoes float past me. Someone yells to me that I am doing the most important job. I simply smile with gritted teeth for all the stuff I am holding requires balance to maintain.
They all work together and the canoe comes forward slowly but surely. I am handed another paddle. This is a forth paddle with a green end and a lighter wooden handle. “What?” It was found from within the beast. I suppose it was our prize for conquering the thing. Rei and Fort-he had lost their beers but nothing else was lost. A new paddle gained seemed quite a triumph in my eyes.
It took us a while to get back on the river. Much thanks to our family team saviors. Rei is focuses her energy into paddling and I help this time with the cool new paddle. In no time at all we have caught up with the others who had passed us during the chaos