"For many days we had been tempest-tossed. Six times had the darkness closed over a wild and terrific scene, and returning light as often brought but renewed distress...We were driven completely off course; no conjecture could be formed as to our whereabouts. The crew had lost heart and were utterly exhausted by incessant labor...Instead of reckless vows, the seamen now uttered frantic cries to God for mercy, mingled with strange and often ludicrous vows, to be performed should deliverance be granted....Every man on board alternately commended his soul to his Creator, and strove to bethink himself of some means of saving his life." *
Holding tight to the ship's railing, I try to remain calm. Saltwater stings my eyes and the cold wind bites my cheek. Guided by the railing, I lurch my way towards the stern.
"I presently saw what I required in a copse at a little distance. We advanced cautiously lest the thicket should contain some wild beast or venomous serpent...."
I am bushwacking, I carry a great stick that I move to and fro ahead of me. Every few steps I pause and remain still, listening. Above my own breathing I hear sounds, their sources obscured by the brush.
"We examined the different tress, and chose one which seemed most suited to our purpose. The branches spread at a great height above us, and I made the boys try if it were possible to throw sticks or stones over one of these, my intention being to construct a rope ladder if we could once succeed in getting a rope across a strong bough...."
I am seated on a platform in a great tree. I look over the edge, down through a quiet canopy of lesser branches, through to the ground, where several birds are hopping about. I realize with some surprise that the platform is moving higher, as an elevator might, and I can hear a sound like the bell that clicks at each floor. The ground becomes more and more distant, and then the ringing of the bell grows louder and more insistent...