Paddling at the Edge of the World

After leaving the dense forest and marshy delta behind, we have arrived at the edge of the world.

On the river one could only see as far as the next curve in the course, the vistas blocked by hills and tree.

Here at the edge of the world, we have miles of unobstructed view. Travelling south we keep the dark land mass to our right, its shores alternating between pebble and sand beaches.

To our left, the world opens to water as far the eye can see. The sky stretches in an endless horizon line. There is nothing that can be seen past it.  We pass from peninsula to faint peninsula, hoping that the emerging land mass is just that and not a mirage sent to lure us over the edge. It is the scene of brilliant sunsets and blazing sunrises, that overlap each other as if Apollo is working hard not to be forgotten.

On calm days the sky and sea are indistinguishable. A hazy light obscures the heavens from the edge. The water reflects the suns rays and all is glass. But these days of harmony are few and far between. Typically our canoe bobs up and down, at the mercy of the indiscriminate wind and wave. We plod along, keeping close watch on the clouds above and waves beneath. There are times when the edge of the world roars with anger and throws all its might behind the waves, crashing them down in thunderous repetition. It is as if Prospero is watching and commands the water to rise out of spite of our progress. It is then we must take refuge like lambs on the shore contesting the giant flies for our own flesh.

The local black bear population patrol the shores, curiously observing our boisterous crew before darting back into the evergreen bush. The pelicans float and soar near the edge but dare not get too close lest they plummet to oblivion. Out of the corner of one's eyes you can the backs of whales disappear beneath the waves out in front. It is all I can do to keep from worrying that a large horrible sea creature will devour us whole from underneath.

Paddling here at the edge of the world is humbling experience. It's beauty can bring a tear to your eye, while it's fury will leave you cursing it under your breath. When at peace or tempest, floating in our canoe, we are ever reminded of the scale of the world, and how truly immense a place it must be.