/   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
March/April 2003

By Heather Goff, Illustrated by Ksenia Vlasov

It was early in the morning with a nip in the air when my dad and I went canoeing. We were on Boot Lake at Half Moon Trail Resort, going canoeing to see the beaver and any other morning animals.

When we were walking down to the canoe everything was calm. I felt peaceful. Fog was rising off the lake, some birds chirped, and everything was still. It was very pretty out.

Canoeing father and son in a canoe

“Look,” my dad whispered

We got to the lake and pushed the canoe into the water. Then we climbed in. We sat for a moment. Then my dad whispered, “Paddle silently.” It felt as silent as a classroom during a test. I watched the calm water turn into ripples as I pushed it away with my paddle. I still felt calm and relaxed gliding over to the beaver dam. “Look,” my dad whispered. I looked up in the sky. Spiraling over the trees was a hawk searching for something to eat. Then a loon called out, breaking the silence. The loon was a few feet away.

All of a sudden the canoe slowed to a stop. I looked over at the shore. There was a pile of sticks. “The dam,” I exclaimed. My dad held a finger to his lips and pointed to the water. A beaver was swimming toward the dam. I held my breath and watched. SLAP! The beaver suddenly slapped his tail, warning us. Then it sped off into the dam.

I let out my breath slowly, feeling safe and calm. The sun was starting to peek over the horizon when under my breath I said, “Wow.”

Canoeing Heather Goff

Heather Goff, 9
Eagan, Minnesota

Canoeing Ksenia Vlasov

Ksenia Vlasov, 11
Katonah, New York

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