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  • Writer's pictureWesley Snedeker


It was shown to me there was a great river.

It surged forth across a verdant landscape. Deep and powerful, it cut through the soft ground and around mighty tree trunks which segmented it into smaller veins before they rejoined downstream. The waters of this river were dark and steady, flowing undisturbed through the sticky air. No white caps or chopped waves profaned their surface, nothing misplaced was reflected beneath their shimmer—they progressed unrepentantly in serene assurance.

Upriver, infinite wilderness, tangled and damp and powerful. Thick greens, browns, and yellows laid with one another across the water and shrouded the world behind them. Trees and plants of all varieties from many worlds lived with one another in improvised communities, navigating as they could with their unaccustomed roots and clumsy branches their new, wet home. Downriver, the trees thinned, and I could see what appeared to be a great ocean into which this river emptied. Over it clung an impenetrable fog which shrouded the beyond in mystery.

It was then that boats emerged.

Floating out of the crush of life and into view, they skimmed across the murky waters. Some glided peacefully with the tide. Large or small, wood or metal, bows forward they moved along with dignity. Not simply set on their course but tended to with care, they worked in harmony with the guidance beneath. It appeared from a distance, however, that not all were as meticulously tended. Many more crafts appeared at the treeline crooked, sideways, capsized. Dragged along in the current, they made their reluctance clear.

As they approached it seemed that many of these boats, though in water, had been deformed or altered for other purposes. One drifted by with unfinished wings, constructed of fronds and lashed with potato vine. Another with makeshift tires and long hooks, as if to catch the shore and drive across it. Yet more were armed with spears and nets and projectiles to sabotage their fellows. Some of these warships were steady. A great deal more were eradicated, barely more than splinters recalling their past wholeness.

As they floated past, I pushed my offering out into the water.

The little boxes suspended by littler buoys bobbed out into the stream. A little fleet of hopes. They rocked and pulled their modest cargo out to the passing crafts. Not many found reception, as they bounced off of hulls or were tugged under by passing flotsam. Old nets tangled them, old weapons punctured them, old wreckage forgot them. But out of one steady canoe, blemished but neatly patched, one pair of hands gently scooped a package from the water.

I watched as the procession finally started to wane and the treeline once again became still.

The boats drifted out into the ocean, beyond the veil of the mist.

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