Monday, October 12, 2009

stuck

I have been absent from my blog because I have a request from an agent to see a book proposal for my little kayak ranger stories. I am stuck on one of the sample chapters. I had written it before but now I find it horribly awful. So here I sit. I can remember this particular day so well. Hunter and I were flying for the Civil Air Patrol, trying to find a missing plane. It disappeared in September, an unsettled and murky month when things can go either way. You can wake up and the day is scrubbed clean, unfamiliar sunshine reminding you why you live in Southeast Alaska, or you can draw an unlucky card and the wind blows with no mercy, rain falls sideways, and fog coats the peaks so you could swear they don't exist.

The plane had taken off two days before and never made it to its destination, Baranof Warm Springs, on the other side of the island. It's only fifteen miles away, but it is a jumble of peaks, glaciers and bottomless lakes. You can hike it, if you have good knees and an iron will. But you can't usually fly it in September. Instead you have to take the long way, fifty miles around by the ocean.

Ken, who has been flying for forty years, said that he thought they had cartwheeled into Deadman Reach, that the wind could slap you down and you could not recover in time. He said that once he had found himself flying upside down there. Other people swore they were on land, that maybe Erik had gotten confused and flown into a dead end. For a long time we hoped they were alive.

Divers went down but couldn't find anything. If it was down there, the plane could have tumbled along the ocean floor for miles. But no wreckage was ever found.

I remember wanting to see something so badly. We circled styrofoam on the beaches and sheared off trees in Duffield. But we never found a thing. It was hard to come back with nothing, and even harder to realize that we would never, ever know what happened.

Anyway, I'm trying to write about it, but the words don't want to come. Sometimes I think that things need to simmer for years before they can be written. For now I'll just eat Halloween candy and hope for a muse.

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