The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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When vacationing at Promised Land State Park, my friend and I would go to Poop Island almost every day. On this day, we'd decided to get purposefully stranded on the island during a thunderstorm. We were always looking to be in some sort of survival scenario, and in this instance we legitimately placed ourselves in one.

 

Dalton and I strolled to the edge of the dock and stared at the glassy surface of the lake. Humming a show tune from the fifties, I bent down and untied the rope that secured the stern of the old aluminum canoe to its dock. We’d already dreamt up all the inconvenient and dangerous scenarios we could find ourselves in if we carried out our half-baked plan. We’d discussed what it would be like if we actually got stranded on Poop Island—in a thunderstorm! Like sit-ups for our young imaginations, jokes about survival and eating bugs and dirt poured from our minds as we tossed our supplies into the canoe.

Though the planning for our expedition had been rather hasty, we were no fools. We’d stuffed our backpacks with all the essentials—Gameboys, pretzels, and fruit rollups. The dangers of entering a survival situation unprepared were apparent to us, and so we’d included valuable sustenance. My teeth demolished pretzel after pretzel as Dalton struggled to untie the knotted rope from the bow of the canoe. To my right, a Great Blue Heron stalked minnows in the shallows, searching for ones slower than their collective school. Splash! Fins and scales flickered briefly in the sunlight before they slid into the dark silence of the heron’s esophagus. Dalton pulled the last piece of knot and the canoe floated languidly from its dock.

People often speak of a calm before every storm. I don’t know if that’s truly the case, but there was a certain trance-like cadence created by our paddles hitting the water, and it brought me peace, even as our scrawny arms strained to propel the boat toward our destination. Several years before, my parents and I had found Poop Island. We would often paddle to its banks and tie off the canoe on one particular stump. With the boat safely docked, we were free to peruse the island’s isolated rhododendron forest. On that forest floor laid thousands and thousands of dried pine needles, and they blanketed the earth as would a bronze ocean of welcoming foam.

The wind began to pick up just as we approached our trusty tie-off stump. Gusts of wind had begun making depressions in the water’s surface. With each gust, the depressions changed direction. It seemed the storm was approaching right on time. I could feel the temperature dropping, and as I turned to Dalton, thick circular glasses stared back at me, opaque with dew. I stepped up onto the pine blanket and held out my hand. He smiled. A streak of lightning shot diagonally onto the opposing shore and crashed, growling like a large beast in a small cage.

Poop Island

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Promised Land State Park, Pennsylvania

When vacationing at Promised Land State Park, my friend and I would go to Poop Island almost every day. On this day, we'd decided to get purposefully stranded on the island during a thunderstorm. We were always looking to be in some sort of survival scenario, and in this instance we legitimately placed ourselves in one.

Decade: 2000s
Rating: 0
Recorded by Marcus Kunkle on April 14, 2014
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