©Mia Knerly-Hess, All Rights Reserved
Marvin had the map, old and faded, from his grandfather's journals. He knew the coordinates of the Betsy Ann and the Maude. Determined to visit the place that so haunted his beloved grandfather, of lives and cargo lost, he trekked across the vast, featureless plains.
"How can this be?" he thought. "There's no water here. Could Dushka have been wrong all those years ago?"
Marvin had checked and re-checked with his GPS and mapped at night by starlight and compass, the winds yowling around him on the cold, lonely plains. For years, he'd been honing his mapping skills for just this journey. From Cub Scout to Star Scout, summers spent at an Outward Bound school, classes and courses, survival camps and those four years in the Corps, just for this moment.
"I'm too old for this," he sighed time and time again. Fifty, graying, slightly stooped shoulders from that accident years ago and now marching across the vast nothingness with skies so big they overwhelmed him at times. The winds, howling and crying, often tearing his mind apart until unbidden streams of emotion fell down his face. Or quiet so still he heard his own heart and the land's heart beating throughout his body and being.
Finally in the distance, a shadowed hump arose out of the flattened scrub grass of the Kazakhstan steppe.
"I'm seeing things again," he chided himself as he raised his binoculars to his blue eyes. No, it was a shape, man-made, jutting blackened above the great plain. The dull sky didn't give him any details but his feet surged him forward with renewed energy. Details began to emerge; the bow, the wheelhouse.
"This HAS to be it! Dushka was right, they're still here!" He had found his grandfather's ships just as the sun broke through the clouds, throwing every detail into crystalline focus.
He just wasn't prepared for the camels.
|Photographer Not Known|
Story by Mia Knerly-Hess
All rights reserved