During the next few daysI I found myself still laboring at the entrance to that small river bed where I had felled the giant tree. The trips in the loaded canoe with the cut up branches of the tree that had grown to cover the sky in the company of like trees of its size, made me more diligent in cleaning the large branches and cutting the wood that would feed the fire and make another mound of the precious coal used for cooking. All the time I pondered having the opportunity to have my own piece of land and being able to live in these beautiful woodlands,
However hard I labored the trips back with the loaded canoe full of mangrove wood would make up for the rest I needed to tackle that giant tree. Just to see it laying in the muddy waters made me regret ever having cut it down to see it laying there like vanquished titan. I silently asked its forgiveness for intruding in and being part of demolishing this beauty of nature and I also prayed for God’s forgiveness. Trip after trip would bring me back to the spot and hear the only known companions I had way out there felling another tree not too far from where I remained for those few days in that wilderness.
The experience that I had gained in Baseline had more than served me well when I noticed that the men I was with had commenced to treat me with deference. I would take my meals far away from them at evening time and take walks to the edge of the beautiful lake or ponto that was drawing me closer to being an advocate of its preservation. I truly began viewing the trip back and forth to the area as one of the special events of my entire life.
On the day of my fourth trip back to the beach head to unload my canoe, however, the mid-day sun was merciless on any living creature that walked or crawled upon the earth. On that day I sat silently in my craft rowing with my paddle steering the heavy laden canoe. The sun was at its hottest and the sea water looked enticing. I suddenly kicked off my heavy, hot, knee-high black rubber boots, and lay my paddle down.
That was when I dove into the water and, instinctively, immediately surfaced, coming back up in a hurry, sitting myself back down in the boat ready to continue paddling. I Soon spied visitors from the depths surrounding the craft. I wasn’t alone! It was then that it dawned on me that those big sharks were hunting me. I let them circle the boat and swung my paddle attempting to hit them. Once! …And then twice! I struck out at the beasts. They then disappeared into the deep water never to reappear again that day. I then proceeded to paddle home to unload.
The experience with the sharks really impacted me and made me remember that there were larger than life water creatures in these tranquil waters. I had been on my way back when my amigo, the half blood Indian, appeared and asked me if I could make it back to the City of Almirante alone.
“I have some things I need to take care of here,” he said. “You know that this is the first time in my life that I have been so far into the sea in a small boat,” I answered him, “If you don’t know that, then that is the way it is for me.” I then looked out on the horizon and said, “It seems like rain is coming.” “But you can’t get lost,” he insisted. “All you have to do is just keep going in that direction and you will soon see the city Juni.” “I’d rather those sharks get me here and now,” I retorted, “for this part of the land I know by now!” With that he stopped insisting and told me that we would leave soon for Bocas Town.
This story continues.