I really need your help.  So many have visited our website and each month interest has grown.  We covet your prayers as we try to hear the heart of God for this hour.  I have been working on a novel for the past few months and need help editing.  Feedback is wonderful whether negative or positive.  Sometimes we grow more through negative criticism than positive.  At the moment it appears this book will be self-published and I’m going to post one chapter a week and solicit on-line editing, suggesting, proofing comments.  All help will be appreciated and those who do submit comments or editing suggestions will be given a free book when it is finally completed.  This is a seventeen chapter book but is only 150 pages so I’m just putting this out there in cyber space and see what happens.

This book is targeted for young adults especially but I hope it will be enjoyed by all.  OK – here goes.  Chapter One.

 

As the Nigris Turns

ChapterOne

The anticipated day had finally arrived.  The three teenage buddies (for they had been friends since grade school) couldn’t wait for the day for the canoe trip to arrive.  They had decided in advance that August 30 would be the launch date down the river.  This would be their last outing before going on to college in the fall.  A lot of planning went into the trip to avoid any number of obstacles and unforeseen problems that might occur.

The entire trip had actually become a team effort, with fathers and sons discussing every possible angle for their safe navigation to the destination point.  The young men, Kevin, Mark and Thomas were getting somewhat anxious to get away from their parents, because they were growing to realize that their fathers were trying to live their lives through their sons.  All three friends had passed through adolescence together, and in the process realized more and more that their fathers were trying to revive their own lost youth and unfulfilled adventurous desires through their children.  This was becoming increasingly maddening to the young men as they had their own lives to live, and they felt it was finally time for their parents to let go of the rope that tied them.

The boys were inseparable friends, texting and tweeting with one liners that were instantly understood by all.  They were the product of the exploding technological generation and really didn’t know how to function outside of computer, email, video games, movies, IPhone, GPS, etc.  Kevin, Mark and Thomas had been raised in relatively affluent families that could afford to get the latest upgrade of equipment.  This was one of the reasons Thomas’s father had suggested a canoe trip for the boys to see how they would do without so much dependence on technology, although they assured them that they could take all of their “equipment” with them.  Once again, the choices seemed to be the fathers’ chance to live their lives through the young men.  In a desire to please their fathers, and not “go against the grain”, Kevin, Mark and Thomas had agreed to the canoe trip and as preparations were under way, became increasingly more excited about it.

They anticipated a time being separated from parents.  As so many young men and women of their generation, they were rapidly moving towards becoming young adults with very little opportunity to do any independent reasoning on the choices they would make in life.  No one ever stopped long enough to think about these things because thinking took too much effort.  They lived by the philosophy of a book they had read in high school called “Don’t push the River, it flows by itself.” Though they were born to be active and involved, everything had been provided for them to the smallest detail and there was simply no reason to “push the river”.

Two of the boys had been accepted to Hatford College, but Thomas had always had more difficulty with academics than his friends.  At an early age Thomas’s parents were concerned that he was so hyperactive and never seemed to be able to stay in one place or activity for long.  They took him to a mental health clinic for evaluation.  The counselor had diagnosed Thomas with ADHD which was the popular catchall disorder diagnoses for anyone who leaned towards day dreaming and difficulty in focusing.  Of course, Ritalin was prescribed as a child and later Adderal.  Thomas never knew a time without prescription medicine.  The medicine seemed to help him function better, because on the rare days he would forget to take his daily dose it seemed like his mind jumped in too many directions to get anything done.

Thomas had not done well on his SAT scores and his only hope was a junior college that would admit him.  The doctor had suggested increasing his Adderal prescription so he could study.  He had finally been accepted at Redfield Junior College only two hours away.  A sense of inferiority was trying to overwhelm him as Mark and Kevin had already begun to distance themselves more from Thomas, talking about the excitement of being freshman at Hatford.  The friends knew college would separate the three of them, but Mark and Kevin would reassure Thomas that they could still send daily text messages and nothing would change as they could communicate continually via cell phone.  Thomas found himself being quieter these days as he felt a change coming in the years of friendship the 3 young men had enjoyed since grade school.

The fathers drove towards the launch point along the river Nigris.  Tradition had it that it was named after an old Indian man who was the only one who knew this river in depth.  The friendly banter between the fathers continued while Kevin, Mark and Thomas were basically silent, not wanting to break into their father’s camaraderie.

The Nigris had been chosen because it was perfect for a canoe trip, with stop off points along the way of the 3 day journey.  The fathers and sons had painstakingly looked over satellite images of the river and the topographical view made the Nigris look rather ordinary.  There had been some old lingering tales, circulating for generations, about the Indian Nigris’s exploits along the river.  Since there were no written records of what Nigris had told the tribe when he would return from one of his trips, the oral traditions were the only fragment of history left.   It was those stories of hidden caves and water falls (that no one had ever discovered) that had lured the young men and their fathers into venturing forth into this particular river.  Everyone knew the Indian tales were far fetched and no one gave any particular credence to their veracity, as nothing unusual had been spotted along the river as far back as anyone could remember.  Many had taken uneventful canoe trips along the Nigris.

The Jeep Cherokee came to a lurching stop, as Mark’s father put his foot on the brake a little harder than usual.  There was a certain air of nervous excitement in the group and now they had finally arrived.  Mark and Kevin and their fathers carefully lifted the canoe off the top of the Cherokee, and they were careful to ensure no unnecessary scratches were imbedded in its amber exterior.  The canoe was a beauty.  It had been painstakingly rubbed with oils until it shone.  Even as they walked towards the river’s edge, sunlight reflected from the canoes exterior like diamond speckles.  Mark and Kevin took the oars and Thomas carried the camping gear to the launch point.  Together they efficiently secured everything needed within the bottom of the canoe.

Each boy had a backpack with abundant supplies perfect for a 3 day outing.  Thomas felt his mother was rather annoying by insisting that she pack a few packages of cheese crackers and another package of crackers and peanut butter.  Thomas had never really liked these cheap crackers, but his mother had used them as food fillers for many years, and he decided even if he didn’t need them he could pass them off to Mark or Kevin.  Their back packs were full of camping gear and anything they might need to spend the night and build camp at one of the stop off points.

It had been decided in advance that the fathers would meet them at the destination point 30 miles down the river.  That would give them plenty of time to propel the canoe forward with the oars during the day, and yet stop to sightsee, eat and sleep.

Everything had been planned so perfectly.  So it is with life.  We make our plans carefully and leave the results to either chance or divine providence, depending on one’s belief system.  Religious subjects were one area of discussion the young men had steered clear of.  Thomas had always been a little mystical for the other two’s liking. They would call Thomas “the Dreamer”, when they wanted to poke fun at him.  The 3 young men had decided a few years before not to discuss the subject of God.  It was better to leave each to sort out such matters for themselves, for after all it was a private matter.

Goodbyes were said; fathers slapped their sons on the back and said they would see them in 3 days at Point B.  As the young men felt the canoe floating forward into the Nigris they had mixed feelings.  Part of them was relieved to have this “coming of age” experience and separation from their fathers, but there was also a certain air of mystery that no one could verbalize.  The air was thick with an unusual apprehension that could almost be tangibly felt.  The boys shrugged off the strange sensations they were all feeling simultaneously, and before long their fathers were only vague forms waving in the distance.  The journey had begun.

Minnesota
Creative Commons License photo credit: mutrock

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