One paragraph story... August 8 edition

We woke up early that day. First to watch Cartoons, then when The Smurfs came on, we set off the bush by Seal Cove school. BJ and mine’s backpacks had a loaf of bread, two packages of Baloney, and some 2 liter coke bottle full of Freshie. This day had been planned for weeks, we were going to build the biggest dam Rupert had ever seen. The kids at school laughed at us when we told them. Alex called us fools. Patty called us children. But, we were going to get it done, and flood out that whole ravine. Over the week we had slowly dragged old pieces of wood, and tree branches through the trail to the spot we picked out. Set aside a nice spot to make mud, and found good felled log above the action to view the results. After putting our packs at the Viewing Spot we started with Rocks, stones, some boulders. Set them next to each other along the bank and up the hill on both sides. It was all about the pre-planning. Get the base in position before any of the mud, and sticks and so on ever meets the water. About when the last stone was placed we stopped for a sandwich and that was when Jonathan and his brother showed up. They stayed along the hill line at first- just watching. When our break was over, a few more kids arrived- some were didn't know, must have come from other schools. Next we layered the branches along the edge- almost like Beavers. Weaving them together. Digging other sticks in to brace them. The water rose a bit, and the crowd grew ever larger. I wiped my brow and saw Rose leaning against a tree. I was sure she was smiling at me. Maybe not. Either way, I worked harder than before. The Mud layer was where it would either make or break it and you could feel the kids’ heart beats quicken. So did ours. Mudded along the edge and then finally in the water itself. It held. By God it held. This was when the kids came down. They didn’t say much, they just dragged trees limbs and stones and built up the incline, The water was double our heads and the dam was holding true. The shade of the massive dike left a pitch black mark on the almost dry river bed. More kids showed up, and even more still. By dinner time we reckoned the dam was 18 feet tall. This was when Rose asked to talk to me, led me up one edge by my hand, and kissed me. I don’t recall kissing her back, but I do recall losing sight for a moment. Standing above the massive structure I smiled. Holding the hand of a pretty girl who seemed to like me, watching all these kids working together I was feeling pretty great. My watch alarm went off; BJ’s watch alarm went off. He looked up at me. It was time. The whole point to building any damn, anywhere: The breaking of it. We cleared the kids away and they dotted the edge of the hill on both sides. For moment we all just stood there, without breathing, without speaking. Just looking at this thing we made. This masterful thing. In moments it would be broken and only a memory, but right now, it was perfect. Like our youth. Almost there, but not quite. An innocence in its placement of stone and stick, soon to be thrust upon and unsuspecting world. Wishing time could stand still just a hair longer, but our parents were calling us from our collective front doors, back doors, kitchen windows- to go home and leave this behind. Could we let it break, or would we allow it to live in its beautiful form awhile longer?

James C.