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Adventures in Akadia

Chapter 14

The Rapids


     The next morning, the children gobbled up a delicious breakfast with the Quotidians before jumping back into their playful activities with Dazy, Rooby, Lulu, Penpen, Zookers, Sunny, Magoo, and Olly. Eager to share the joy of one of their favorite games, the kids taught the Quotidians how to play hide-and-seek. Not surprisingly, the tiny Quotidians quickly mastered the game. With their small size and knack for reaching tricky hiding spots, the Quotidians proved to be expert hiders.

     During a round where Jamari was the seeker, he joked out loud, “If my challenge is playing hide-and-seek with these Quotidians, I think I’m in big trouble!”

     This made the Quotidians burst into a fit of giggling, making them much easier to find. Jamari had discovered perhaps the only way to find a hiding Quotidian: get them to giggle. Encouraged by Jamari’s success, the other kids adopted the same strategy and tried all sorts of things to get the Quotidians giggling. They discovered that making silly animal noises was particularly effective.

     Around mid-morning, Rosy called the group over to gather at the riverbank. As the kids approached, they could see a boat directly behind Rosy and Wink. As they got a closer look, this handmade boat appeared to be a Quotidian version of a paddle-raft. The kids correctly assumed that their method of travel was about to change. 

     Rosy cheerfully declared to the kids, "No more hikin'. Time for boatin'!" 

     Wink followed up by asking, "You kiddos do boatin' before?" 

     The kids, wide-eyed and curious, all shook their heads, admitting they had never done anything like this. 

     Rosy nodded, “Okeekay, this be a good challenge.”

     Taking a paddle and a life-vest from the boat, she explained, "First thing to be thinkin' is to be safe." 

     Both Rosy and Wink took the time to teach the kids about how to stay safe and secure on the boat. They provided the kids with colorful Quotidian life vests and made sure the children had everything they needed for their day on the river. 

     Rosy brought the kids to the water’s edge and explained, “River be calm here…”, she then pointed downstream, “...but it get real bumpy down there.” 

     The children, feeling nervous, couldn't help but exchange worried glances.

     With a twinkle in her eye, Rosy asked, "You like a challenge?" 

     The kids didn’t immediately answer. They weren’t sure if they understood the question. They wondered if Rosy was talking about river rafting, the challenges waiting for them at the end of their journey, or maybe both.

     As if she could sense their thoughts, Rosy provided some encouragement, “Today be a good challenge. You will be great!”

     Approaching the boat, Rosy directed each of the kids to where they would sit. The kids took their places near the front, two on each side. 

     Rosy turned around to face the Quotidians and pointed toward the older ones, “Okeekay. Penpen, Magoo, Sunny, and Rooby, you come wif us on boat.”

     The group of Quotidians erupted into a chorus of both joy and disappointment. 

     “Why not we go?” whined Lulu.

     “I wanna go too!” Olly cried out.

     Motioning for them to settle down, Rosy raised her hand and said, "Today, we'll be takin' the older Quotidi's."

     Stepping closer to the Quotidians staying behind, she reassured them, "But don't worry. You be helpin' with something really special today."

     The young Quotidians that would be left behind stood with their arms crossed, looking a bit skeptical. Wink approached each of them and whispered what their task would be today. Instantly, their expressions changed from doubt to excitement. The little Quotidians giggled and scampered back toward the cottages. The kids each had the thought to ask Wink what he had told the young Quotidians, but they knew he was unlikely to share what their secret task would be.

     Once everyone was settled on the boat, Wink and Rosy, with a playful push, sent the boat gliding into the river. Looking back, the kids had a moment of panic as they realized Wink and Rosy weren’t in the boat. Rosy and Wink, once again displaying the incredible agility of Quotidians, each took a long oar into their hands and used them to pole vault from the shore and into the boat. They both took their place at the back of the boat where they would be helping to steer.

     The journey began just as Rosy had explained – the river was calm, and the boat ride proved to be wonderfully relaxing. As they rode along gently, Rosy asked, “Any you kiddos have a map?”

     Disappointment came across Lukas’ face as he realized the map had been in his backpack when it took the watery plunge the day before.

     He looked back to Rosy and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have it anymore.”

     Rosy comforted him, saying, "That be okay.” A smile came across her face as she quizzed Lukas on what he remembered from his study of the map, “Do you remember where this river go?” 

     Lukas pondered for a moment and then confidently replied, "This river leads to the Golden Shore.” 

     Rosy beamed and nodded, "Tha' right." 

     The children exchanged excited glances, each realizing what this meant. They remembered that Aurelia had promised that she would meet them at the Golden Shore.

     Brimming with enthusiasm, Elizabeth asked, "How long will it take for us to get there?" 

     Rosy gave a thoughtful look down the river and replied, "This river take two days to do." 

     Their eyes widened, shocked at how long the ride would be. They had all thought the boat ride would just be a few hours! Despite realizing it would be a few more days before they saw them, the kids were thrilled at the prospect of a joyous reunion with Aurelia and Barky.

     As promised, it didn’t take long for the river to become choppy. At first, the rapids were small and very manageable. The kids giggled as they paddled through the up and down of the waves. But as the rapids grew bigger, the nervousness crept in. Wink and Rosy, always there to guide, reminded the kids that they'd give instructions—whether it was paddling hard, paddling backward, or lifting their paddles out of the water. The kids were eager to follow their instructions and made sure to listen closely for their voices amongst the noise of the rushing water.

     The rapids grew wilder and the water began splashing the entire group as they plunged into the deep waves. On a particularly big wave, the raft rebounded hard and bounced Sunny right out of her seat. Elizabeth, who was sitting right behind her, shot out her arm and caught Sunny just before she feel into the river. Sunny was startled but safe.

     Looking back with a grateful expression, she said, “Thanks Lizzy!” 

     Rosy, having seen the whole thing, shouted, “Good catch, Lizzy!”

     As their journey continued, the kids grew more confident and even began to enjoy the thrilling ride. They were doing well to follow Rosy and Wink’s instructions and work as a team. Instead of becoming quiet and nervous at the sight of an upcoming rapid, the kids began to shout for joy with anticipation. 

     The group soon reached a calm stretch of water, much like how the river was at the beginning of their journey. The kids were enjoying the rapids, but were happy to have a well-deserved break for their rowing arms. Taking a moment to catch their breath, they looked around and noticed that the scenery had begun to change. The mountains that had stood tall for the entire journey in Akadia were becoming shorter. In the far-off distance, it seemed like the land was leveling off completely. 

     “You kiddos did good!” Magoo exclaimed.

     “You did good catch, Lizzy!” Penpen added in amazement.

     In the continued calm of the river, the conversation turned to the Quotidians asking the kids about their experience in Akadia.

     “You kiddos likey Akadia?” Rooby asked.

     The kids each smiled and nodded.

     “What be your favorite part?” Sunny followed up.

     The kids looked to one another as they thought about how they would answer. Jamari was the first to speak and responded, “I loved bubbly-ball and the cookies we ate at Mystiboo!” 

     Gabriela agreed and added, “I loved meeting Aurelia and being at her home.”

     With fondness in her voice, Elizabeth replied, “I loved Mystiboo too! My favorite part was the lanterns.”

     The kids all voiced their agreement and recounted that experience to the Quotidians.

     The Quotidians then looked to Lukas and asked, “Wha’ bout’ you, Lukey?”

     Lukas didn't need any time to think of his response, “Barky is my favorite!” 

     The young Quotidians each giggled and joyfully shared their own memories of Barky.

     The kids talked with the Quotidians for a short time longer before they were interrupted by Rosy’s gentle voice.

     “Okeekay kiddos, the bigges’ challenge is soon.”

     This caught the kids' attention and they each looked back to Rosy, eager for any more information or instruction she may provide. 

     In a more serious tone, Rosy explained, “We be goin’ over small waterfall.”

     The kids’ look of concern was more evident as they exchanged worried glances to one another. 

     “A waterfall?” Elizabeth asked shakily.

     With a reassuring smile, Rosy said, “It be okeekay. But listen close so we stay safe”. Rosy explained how they would all need to paddle hard together and make sure the raft was pointed in the right direction. She then looked over the group and asked, “You ready?”

     The kids nodded and turned forward again, gripping their paddles tightly. They each felt nervous, but not the same kind of nervous as that morning. They realized that they had learned some important lessons on the river that day. First, they had learned to trust and find comfort in Rosy's voice. They wouldn’t have known what to do if she and Wink had not been there. They also noticed a boost in their confidence on the river, growing more assured with every rapid they successfully navigated. Lastly, they realized they were having an absolute blast!

     In the distance, a low rumble reached the children's ears, prompting Lukas to ask, "Is that the waterfall?" 

     "Yep, that's it," Rosy confirmed with a grin. 

     Jamari, looking around to the others, flashed a confident smile and declared, "We got this. We love a good challenge." 

     Wink and Rosy skillfully steered the raft into position and Rosy called out, "Okeekay, kiddos, paddle paddle!" 

     With synchronized effort, everyone paddled hard together, propelling the raft with increasing speed. As they crested over the waterfall, each of the kids experienced a brief sensation of weightlessness. To the kids, it felt like the raft was falling for an eternity. When they finally hit the bottom, the impact was powerful and it felt like they were briefly submerged before they popped back up to the surface. The kids, momentarily stunned, looked around, ensuring everyone was still on the boat. 

     Totally soaked, the group stayed quiet for a moment longer as they looked back at the waterfall. A sense of disbelief turned into exhilaration as they realized what they had just conquered. Breaking the silence, Jamari let out the first cheer, and soon, the entire group erupted into cheers and started giving each other fist bumps and high-fives.

     Wink and Rosy called out in unison, "Good work, kiddos!" 

     The group navigated a few more small rapids before the river once again  became calm. Wink and Rosy guided the raft toward the bank of the river as Rosy announced, “We campin’ here tonigh’.” 

     The kids, drenched but happy, lent their helping hands to pull the raft all the way up to shore. As they examined the surrounding area, they found themselves in a sandy clearing surrounded by trees.

     As the kids were continuing to explore and help set up camp, Penpen's cheerful voice rang out a short distance down the river, “Kiddos, come see! Quicky!”

     The kids eagerly ran to where Penpen was standing. As they approached, they could see he was pointing to something out in the river. Miraculously, each of their backpacks had gotten caught on a log that was extended partially into the river. Grateful for this unexpected reunion with their belongings, the kids walked out onto the log and snatched their packs from the river. They discovered that while everything was soaked, nothing had been lost.

     As Gabriela hopped off the log and onto the shore, she noticed that Penpen had been grinning the entire time. In an investigative tone, Gabriela asked, “Penpen, do you know the Quotidians that threw our stuff in the river?”

     Penpen’s grin became a full smile as he responded, “Maaaybe.”

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