It was like a movie or
maybe a book. A group of young adult students enjoying their youth and
exploring a world that they are not quite familiar with. It is a world that
they have heard about and read books on, but this group was actually taking
the chance to experience it for themselves. Everyone knows that something
is bound to happen when you have twenty college kids canoeing in the
A cloudy day and we have
only been in our canoes five minutes and we are soaking wet. Not because we
fell in, but because it is raining. That is okay though, we are not going
to melt. The view here really is spectacular and quickly makes me forget it's
raining. I have lived in Miami all my life and really have never seen so
much natural area without a McDonalds or a mall around. I love this natural
world - it teaches us a lot, like how easy we have it today, how much we
take plants and animals for granted, and how hard past generations worked
to give us the technology we have today.
My cell phone and Onstar
phone in my car doesn't work and I am going crazy because I wanted to make
phone calls. What did the Indians do when they had to communicate with
someone far away? They managed and survived so I know I will too. But, why
have we become so dependent on these miniscule things of our modern
society? Being out in the Everglades I learn that these objects should not
have priority in my life.
So, we continue with our
journey. We are lucky to have a paddle out here, not like "Willie Bee" who
had to use a pole. We are already at the back of the group, if we had a pole
I think we would only move with the current.
I spoke too soon. Before I
know it, I find myself asking, "Where the hell are we?" None of the other
canoes are visible. There are no signs of civilization in any direction.
I immediately see myself on the news: "Two FIU students vanish in the
Everglades." I imagine helicopters flying around looking for us. A crew of
police on a search looking for clues to get closer to where we are. I think
of everything. I even try to use my phone, ha ha, yeah right. It will never
work out here. I am so freaked out that I forget how badly I have to use
This is even worse than
getting lost in a bad neighborhood in Miami. At least there I will probably
be robbed and have my car taken, but I am around civilization and I have
hope of getting home. Here I wish I could be robbed. It is scary. I don't
know where we are, and our only hope is the map we were handed only fifteen
minutes earlier. We go to grab it and the rain has pretty much made it
disintegrate into little pieces of nothing.
"So, what do we do now?" I
see nothing around, not even a bird. The only thing I hear is the canoe
against the spike rush, this once beautiful and relaxing sound. It was even
the topic of conversation between my partner, Francis and me for a while.
The sound is perfect for the CD's that are used to relax people, or the
natural sounds used to put babies to sleep. The sound is so peaceful; it is
almost like the waves of the ocean. But, now I can't stand it, it has
gotten so annoying. I am even willing to stop rowing so I don't have to
hear it anymore.
Being lost has obviously
taken the best of me. I am frustrated and afraid. I think of everything:
What if it starts lightning? What if there is an alligator? What if we
reach the ocean, then what do we do? I am so angry with myself, how could I
let this happen. I made it even worse for myself thinking about that python
that had been all over the news. If it can eat alligator, it can very
easily eat me.
You know what, I will try
looking at the bright side. I am giving my arms a really good workout and
I am getting a tan, it will be very uneven but it's a tan. This segment of
my thoughts ends very quickly. There is not much else positive I can find.
I am back to point A. I am
freaking out, but the good thing is I am not really showing it, and we have
decided to head back to where we came from, if we can even find where that
is at this point.
Am I delirious or do I
hear a voice? There is hope. It is a voice. I yell back and hear it closer.
I feel like a kid again on Christmas running to the tree to find all the
gifts. It is Dr. Graham. I have never been so happy to see a professor in
Now how embarrassing it
will be to face the class. Of everyone why did I get lost? Nothing like
this has ever happened to me. But, I look back at it now and it was funny,
crazy, but funny. It will be a good story to tell my grandkids about. I
just hope it never happens again.
What started off like a
movie or book actually turned out be what you see on the evening news.
Breaking news: "Two young adults are missing. They started their day
canoeing in the Everglades with their class and now they are nowhere to be