By Erin Ruble

June 26, 2017


We paddle to our campsite under blue skies, glancing at the horizon. Thunderheads boil upward from three directions. My husband makes dinner while I wrestle with the tent, setting the final stake just as the first drops fall. By the time I give up trying to erect a tarp, I’m so wet that I strip in the tent’s vestibule so as not to flood the interior.

It’s still hours before dark, but the children, trapped inside, want a story. I pull out the crumpled pages I printed yesterday, copies of fairy tales I loved as a girl.

Urashima Taro rides a turtle to the bottom of the ocean, and remains there, unchanged, while centuries pass above.

Outside, the deluge continues. Water pools beneath the tent, pushing up the fabric.

After what seems like just three days, Taro insists on swimming home to visit his parents, where he discovers that they have died and he himself has become legend. In grief, he opens a magic box and ages three centuries at once.

The rain finally pauses, and we push through the flap into the world. The air shimmers with water. There is no telling if, beyond the lake, the road still exists.

Retrieving our boat, we pass into the rose-storm of sunset, startling a pair of loons. For twenty million years these birds have lived here. Over my children’s heads I watch this pair sound their tremulous cries, resurrecting their ancestors—as do we, in our melancholy and joy.

Comments (8) - Post a Comment
Marilyn Bousquin at 10:09am EDT - June 26, 2017
Jane Newkirk at 11:52am EDT - June 26, 2017
Thank you. This is breathtakingly beautiful.
Beth Howard at 12:25pm EDT - June 26, 2017
We hike with our children and they explain it is too hot or too cold or too up or too down and they lag behind. We tell them stories to distract them. The years go by. They pass you on the trails and have children of their own to tell stories to. They write essays full of memory and wonder and you smile, remembering how it was.
Sheila Ruble at 8:54pm EDT - June 26, 2017
Evocative of times of camping out, in weather foul and fair, taking our dose of nature in gulps! Alex and I, with a girlfriend of mine, once camped in a state park, and a huge wind storm arose, which we slept through. When we peeked out of the tent in the morning, a huge tree had fallen, the trunk missing out tent by less than a yard. Defying the odds... like your rainy spell!!! ❤️
Anna Burns at 10:31pm EDT - June 26, 2017
I could see the whole scene as I read it! And hear the loons.

Thanks for sharing this with us.
Fran Putnam at 3:31pm EDT - June 27, 2017
Very nice
Autumn Shah at 4:34pm EDT - June 30, 2017
I completely worship your blog. It is stunning and you have an extraordinary written work style. Congrats,
write my essay at 5:38am EST - November 24, 2017

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