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deep sleep
foot drop
inner voice
8-6-09 Eleven Point River
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8-6-09 Eleven Point River-day 3 by D. Cummings Zuch

Bright and beautiful weather find the fish jumping around my boat all day. A young deer stood on the bank and watched us paddle into a treacherous curve. She fled when Karla lifted her rudder with a clunk.

Two blue herons flew back and forth 20-30 feet away. One stood on the bank and watched us pass, never flying. Most fly before we arrive.

We visited Morgan Mill float camp but Boze Mill float camp was what I wanted to see. My friend had camped there many years before and reported that at night they had heard the sound of spirituals being sung. It had been a spooky ghostly experience. I was anxious to check it out and wondered if I might sense something there.

We walked out onto the ruins of the old mill and sat on the wall watching the water run swiftly from the spring, then channeled through shutes in the wall which had once run the wheels of Boze Mill in the 1800’s.

As I gazed down into the water I heard an inner voice say “Jump”. To jump would have been semi suicidal for the swift current would have thrust you into the shute and there was no knowing if your body would pass and what obstacles you might hit underwater not to mention the 4 foot drop Pag2 8-6-09 Eleven Point River –day 3 by D. Cummings Zuch

into a pool of rocks and boulders. Within I responded “Forget it!” The voice persisted and I said a few profane things to it. I discovered I was sleepy, and as is my wont, I lay down on the wide wall, told my friend I was going to nap, and promptly fell into a deep sleep. I was still hoping to experience something nicer than this thoroughly nasty voice.

When I awoke from my nap I noticed my right bicep hurt and I thought I must have strained it kayaking. As we walked out, down the path leading from the mill, my arm began to hurt more and more and it felt as though someone had a grip on it yanking hard enough to disturb my shoulder.

I looked inward and was shocked to see a dark angry man yanking on my increasingly pained arm. He was saying, ”You can’t go now.” I saw a crowd of dark shadowy people were following us. (I realized I was a light in their darkness.) These shadowy people were black, mostly women, dressed in 1800’s slave dress. The man was white, mean, and acted like an overseer. I began to speak to the women. “Look for the light,” I said softly to them, and I saw it appear. They stopped following us and began to sneak into the light while the man was distracted by me. Page3 8-6-09 Eleven Point River- day 3 by D. Cummings Zuch

He thought I was the light and he was busy trying to block them from me and failed to see the true light or their furtive departures. My arm hurt worse.

The last to go was a woman with a baby and she paused just before she went, looking back a while at the man. I murmured “Go, go!” and she went. He noticed they were all gone. He was mad. “You took them!” he said, “Now you have to stay.” “ NO,” I said, “They went into the light and you can go too. I’m leaving.” I climbed into my kayak and paddled down the river hoping he would let go.

He hung on and said “I can’t go. I’m too evil.” He was scared, clinging hard. I was paddling hard because Karla was looking intently for a sand bar and it was getting late. She paddles fast when she’s anxious. I wondered how to get him to let me go, so I started saying what I believe about the universe: “Yes, you can go because the Creator is love. We are all love. You are love. I am love. There is only love on the other side.”

“No”, he says.”I’ve done terrible things.” The light was still hovering. I urged, ”Just try it; just stick your hand in and see what happens.” He stuck his free hand into the light and snatched it back. “What happened?”, I asked. “A hand,” he said. “Have you ever had love in your life?” I asked, trying to think of a way to reach him. Page 4 8-6-09 Eleven Point River-day 3 by D. Cummings Zuch

His grip was still tight and it hurt. He paused and then said, “Long ago I had a wife and a child. They died, some awful disease. The child was so young.” “See?” I said. “You had love in your life. Reach again.” He does and snatched his hand back again. “What?” I asked. “A little hand.” he said in a small voice. I know he will go now because it is probably his lost child and he sensed it. “Go”, I say and “Let go of me.” The pain in my arm lessened and then eased until I could ignore it. I paddled hard and tried to put it all out of my mind, telling myself it was my imagination.

Meanwhile Karla was pulling hard, thinking we have 9 miles to go to the next camp. In 3 miles we found a lovely bar.

That night, while we awaited dinner, I told her my experience at Boze Mill, and shared I thought it was my imagination. I pulled up the sleeve of my shirt and looked at my still sore arm. On my bicep there were clear 4 point red marks ,as if I had been grabbed by the arm harshly. I was shocked. Later, those marks became very clear bruises. I came to believe it was a real experience, a first for me.

(there are pictures on a flash drive if you are interested)

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