The Everglades National Park
FIU IDH 4007

Lost in My Own Thoughts

Raiza Say
IDH 4007
Fall Semester 2005

   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 Everglades.

   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 the bathroom.

   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 my life.

   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 found..."

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