Joys of Indian Summer

IndianSummer

We’re country gals—Joy and I.  We both have Native American ancestry and we both love “Indian Summer!”  We’re like two peas in a pod.

One day, we took it in our heads to go to the Holmes River Bluff all by ourselves for several days.

The weather was perfect for a camping trip and the waters were sparkling. The sunlight gleamed against the pale cliffs rising up and up.  It was postcard-perfect, and we felt lucky to be in the middle of it!

Quickly, we set up camp and inflated the air-raft, preparing to launch into deep waters.   We made a final check of our supplies: oars, picnic lunch, water jug, sunscreen, sunglasses…?

“Oh my Gosh!” my friend said.  “I almost forgot.  I can’t go anywhere without my prescription sunglasses!  My doctor says I could get cataracts again without them!”  Joy settled the pricey pair of sunglasses on her nose and looked at me brightly.  “I’m ready now.  Let’s go!”

We headed into the wide smooth waters, and with each stroke of the oar, my friend became more excited.  By the time we reached the small cove, Joy was ecstatic.

“Look how beautiful it is!  There’s even a waterfall!   I’ve never seen such a gorgeous spot!”  She laughed and clapped her hands.  Then with a wild whoop worthy of an Indian, Joy leaped out of the raft—plunging into the crystal clear waters.

A moment later, she came up sputtering, a look of panic on her face.  All her laughter had vanished in an instant.  She gulped and tried to speak, but she had inhaled water and was coughing hard.

Her look of panic scared me.  Grabbing the oars, I paddled towards her.

She was crying and flailing about.  “My glasses!” she sobbed.  “I forgot to take them off and now they’re 30 feet down at the bottom.  I can’t dive that deep!”

“Calm down!”  I said. “They’re just a pair of sunglasses!”

“But they’re post-surgery, high-tech, prescription sunglasses!  They cost me $1700!  Both my doctor and my husband are going to kill me…!”  She was nearly hysterical.

Our joyful Indian-Summer day had suddenly turned ugly.

I thought hard and fast.  “Don’t worry,” I said.  “I’ll call my husband.  He can dive down there and get them.”  I spoke with more confidence than I felt.  I wasn’t at all sure my husband could dive in such deep water, but I had to calm my friend somehow!   We paddled quickly to shore and I ran to the tent to fetch my cell phone.  My husband sighed when he heard of our predicament, but said he would be there shortly with the SS Minnow and his snorkel gear.

I went to tell Joy.  She was sitting on the shore, by now, looking calm and serene. She smiled when she heard that Michael was on his way.  “I’ve been praying,” she said, “And the Lord let me know that your husband will find my glasses for me.”

I wasn’t so sure myself, but I didn’t say it.   My fears grew as the minutes turned into hours.  My husband had not appeared as promised.  He eventually called to say that he hadn’t found all his gear, yet, and that it was too late to go diving now.  It would have to wait until tomorrow.

My friend didn’t even blink.  “That’s fine,” Joy said.  “He’ll find my glasses tomorrow.”

Tomorrow…!  It would be almost 24 hours since the glasses had sank to the bottom.  How long would they remain in the little cove before drifting downstream?     When we went to bed that night, I tossed and turned and fretted.  My friend slept peacefully in her tent.  I could hear her gentle snores in the darkness.

When at last morning came, I tidied up the camp and waited impatiently for my husband to appear.

Michael didn’t show up with the SS Minnow until after 11:00.  “I couldn’t find all of my gear and somebody stole the oars for our rowboat,” he said glumly.  “I finally had to go buy new ones.”

On that unhappy note, we set out in the rowboat.  Things weren’t going well from my viewpoint, but my friend Joy wasn’t the least discouraged.  We left her sitting on the opposite shore, smiling serenely.  She waved at us cheerily.  I sighed.

In the cove, my husband put on his fins and mask and adjusted the mouthpiece on his snorkel.  It would be a tankless dive, which meant added peril.  Even a skilled diver can be swept up in the current and become trapped by hidden branches or a root mass.  Minutes later,  that diver would be history!

I breathed a prayer as my husband slid into the waters.  He swam about the surface for several minutes, peering into the depths, then taking a deep breath he plunged out of sight.  He reappeared moments later looking grim.

Searching for a pair of brown sunglasses on a muddy river bottom?  Not a good prospect!

Michael went down again, this time kicking his feet very high before he disappeared.  He was going in deep!

I sat in the SS Minnow, waiting.  My husband was gone for a long time.  30 seconds…45…A full minute.  It seemed forever.  I’d begun to visualize all kinds of calamity when suddenly he popped up like a cork.  He swam toward the boat with the same grim expression on his face.

I slumped.  Well…That was that!  The water was too murky at the bottom.  Too deep.  Too impossible.

Michael turned the boat around and headed for the opposite shore where my friend sat watching.  Joy still wore that confident, serene expression.  She got to her feet and stood waiting, a half-smile on her face as we approached.  I felt sad for her.

A cloud had slipped in front of the sun and everything seemed bleak. I felt like crying. What would my friend do without her post-surgery, high-tech, prescription sunglasses?

I heaved a sigh.  Sometimes our prayers don’t get answered, it seems.  Sometimes we just have to accept—

My thoughts were interrupted by a loud gasp.  I turned to see my husband reach into his scuba suit and pull out a pair of brown prescription sunglasses.

Joy reached for them with a shout of gladness.  “I knew you would find them!  The Lord told me so!”

We all started to laugh, our voices echoing against the cliffs.  “The Lord answered our prayers!  Hallelujah!”   The sun came out from behind the cloud just then.  Everything was bright and cheery.  The birds were singing.  We were laughing.  It was a joyful Indian-Summer day again!

Hallelujah…indeed!

Miracles can happen if we only believe!

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