There is nothing, she thinks, that can beat this feeling. The sound of the oars as they dip into the water, pushing back the waves; the motion of sliding forward and back, in rhythm with everyone else; the banks blurring into one endless, vibrant scenery.
When they lift their oars and let the quad cut through the water by itself, they glide seamlessly and she can feel the wind running past her, the boat filled – just temporarily – with a life of its own. It’s exhilarating, this moment, to be sitting on this boat, body thrumming with adrenaline and the exhaustion of the activity not yet felt. The energy binds them; it flows in between each of one of them, from stroke to bow, pushing them forward and ready in anticipation for the next moment. As the boat slows, the sound of the waves lapping onto each oar becomes more pronounced, more enhanced. Methodical, rhythmic, calming.
For a moment, everything is perfect.
They all saw it coming, but that still wasn’t enough to prepare them for the actual passing of it. The slight breeze around them picked up, as they finally drifted away from the calm waters into a slightly rougher patch. They move swiftly, but unevenly: their harmony lost. Though small, the wind causes the water to start hitting the boat, throwing everyone off balance and rendering them unable to work together. The boat rocks, oars clashing into one another, slides moving in chaos. They’re ordered to stop, to wait. Eventually, the pick up again, oars moving in a slow, cautious fashion. The wind remains fickle, uncooperative and unyielding, but it’s no matter.
The shore is in sight.