Eliot Rosenfield

Nature's Fireworks

I am eight. My parents and I attempt white water rafting in Oregon. The morning sun peeks over the valley as a mischievous child peeks around a corner. Icy water splashed on my face as we continue down the river.

The noon sun blazes down and scorches the unprotected rocks. The canyon creates a funnel that concentrates the heat and bakes us alive. Our rafts are like dead animals being tossed around by ravenous vultures. Inside the raft, we sit uncomfortably off balance, helplessly waiting for our sure demise. My blue ducky holds my life and all my trust, as long I am adrift. The primitive paddles push ineffectively at the powerful rapids, allowing drops of water to roll down the shaft and rain acid on my uncomfortable arms. Water thrashes against the rafts like knights heaving a battering ram against the castle gate.

Suddenly, as I paddle with my dad in the ducky, a simple miscommunication threatens our lives. As we approach a rapid, my dad paddles to the left as I lean to the right. This results in a catastrophic disaster as we are thrown over the falls. We tip over like spilled OJ on a counter. The unforgiving river takes full advantage of our inexperience and tosses us and turns over and under swelling waves that clash into our faces .

The fun was hidden underneath the worked muscles and fear. Bare slopes were a cemetery for old trees and a constant reminder of our isolation. Peaceful quiet surroundings made the journey. Blue skies followed us throughout the trip. Yellow and orange rocks flirted with the river. On the shore dancing waves spit up water as they peaked.

At the end of the day the sun congratulates us with a display of nature’s fireworks in the sky. Brilliant oranges and purples reflect down into the valley. The wind picks up from the loss of sun and shoots through the valley creating sudden cold surroundings. Though cold and dark, the environment is mystical and peaceful. A certain justified reward for the day's work. After the privilege of sight was gone only the sounds of the river carry our thoughts.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.