Quietly, we got into the canoe and pushed off the shore in the shallow waters and headed on our way. It’d been exactly where the note said it would. And we knew we’d find what we were looking for when we saw it.
The problem was that we had committed ourselves to this quest of near silence and could talk no more above a whisper. The atmosphere was charged heavily around us. Heightened senses alerted us to the smallest sound and we kept our bodies as low to the canoe as we could while still rowing when needed while following the flow of the stream.
We passed by grand houses, most likely summer homes, docks and small signs of life. Mallards silently passed us, veering towards the shallow edge of the river and making their way offshore. As we moved along, signs of life trickled to nothing and the water became marshy with the thickness of cattails and reeds. After about an hour into the trip, I heard, “Joce! Joce!” so quietly I first thought I’d imagined it. “Slow up just a bit!”
I relaxed the oar and sat a little more upright so that I could turn to see him. Excitement tinged the air and I didn’t know what to expect when I faced him. Between the humidity and the workout of steering a canoe in unknown waters, his hair was soaked and sweat dripped from his earlobes and chin. I wondered what I looked like. Both of us were short of breath and in need of water, but knew we must keep going.