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Fire on the Water


Burnt hues of yellow and vermilion lick the computer screen this morning.  It reminds me of stained glass.  Of entering an aged room:  A fire burning under the mantel, inconceivably tall ceilings and a stillness, as if something were about to happen.  It has been two nights since the race and the brilliance of the sun’s rays remind me of the fire that burned within me.

The three teams assemble.

Three was the size of the crew in each Prism canoe:  A lightweight frame with a keen and mighty motor.  We knew we’d be fast, but most of us had not the experience of 3-manning a solo canoe.  Spirits were high and the anticipation from the crews was thick in their voices.

From the Left: Dan, Meg and Roark position themselves for the start of the race.

Three teams lined up at the end of the landing dock and on Rachel’s count, it began.  A whirlwind of paddles, shouts and calls from the boats and spectators at the landing erupted across the still lake.  The water’s still face now rippled and distorted, vibrant with the color of dusk, cold and smooth as stained glass.

The winners (Roark at the bow, Meg in the middle, Dan at the stern)

My team did not win.  We did not come in second either.  But we were met with smiles and applause as we crossed the finish.  A nod to the great sportsmanship of the people there.

The fire that burned in me that night now burns low.  Stoked by this early morning light, the flame burns a little brighter.  I wish to go again.  To have that fire burn great and bright again.  To spit flames from our paddles in the Dragon Boats.