University of Northern Iowa Dept. of English Language and Literature student writing award of excellence for literary nonfiction/personal essay, 2008
Short stories, American;
Wisps of heaven pushed the waves against the side of our canoe; traveling across lakes and forests, I guided the youngest of scouts through the emerald and sapphire pieces of Minnesota, the oldest Boy Scout in our group by two years. By the adults who accompanied us, I had been given lecture upon lecture about my status as a leader to the boys. We would canoe ten miles a day portaging our canoes over one mile landfalls; our strokes felt heavy but touched lightly upon the surface of the water and our spirits lifted into the clouds. Something happens to someone when they are thrown into the wilderness, willingly or unwillingly. Some people adapt to it, others push away an experience they believe irrelevant to their life, and some find a happiness never matched by any material possession in the world. A few people who find the middle of these things are pushed into a state of solitude and contemplation. In this small corner of the world you could not and would not ever complain of weakness, of being tired, nor show your deepest fear of not being strong enough.
Department of English Language and Literature
©2008 Tate Fontenot
Fontenot, Tate, "Softly falls the light of day" (2008). Student Writing Awards. 11.