One by one, they come, stepping out into the cold pre-dawn hour
The promise of a warm, bright day not yet realized.
Twilight stars wink out on the mirrored water.
Distant songs of morning birds echo across the cove.
A mother swan, in ghostly majesty, ushers her young across the lake.
In the quiet solitude of this morning, under cathedral sky,
They yawn – shake off their night’s rest and begin their ritual dance
Stretching muscles that will burn in the sun’s first rays.
They carry their oars to the shore – extensions of themselves.
Laying hold of their shell, lofting its hard-edged gunwales to their shoulders,
They move with muted voices to the night-dark water.
At first stroke, their hatchet blades cut through the silence.
Their bow breaks forever the stillness of the lake.
They move out over the water in peaceful cadence;
Light breaks across the trees at the top of the hill.
In time with the rising sun
Their leviathan heart begins to beat.
Girls Head Crew Coach
East Lyme High School