It was one of the nicest sunsets I’ve seen since joining Colin on this expedition. But knowing our time on the Kickapoo Reservation was limited, and having only just spotted the towering lights of the casino parking lot peeking out over the giant cane, it was also a stressful sunset. My best bet for pictures was to find something interesting to shoot tonight, before it got dark, and we were still on the river.
Finally we hit the take out. Colin agreed to haul our gear 300 yards to the hotel while I shot out in search of … something.
I was prepared for failure — the odds were against me. The sun neared the horizon while I walked into the small cluster of mobile homes just down the main street from the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel. First six homes, nothing. And then, a dog. Kids. Adults. A gerbil.
I introduced myself and explained why I was talking so quickly, that the sun was going down and tomorrow we were leaving early and could I please take some pictures of … whatever it is you’re doing?
Without hesitation— in part due to the irresistible allure of this expedition, but perhaps mostly due to the good-natured warmth I’m coming to expect from people along the river — they welcomed me into the yard. Within three minutes I was crouched down shooting pictures of smiles, tears, laughter, and the most intense thing I hope to see on this trip: a very lopsided pet smackdown between a dog and a gerbil.
As the kids looked on and the gerbil lay motionless in the grass, I thought about how incredibly random things have been on this trip, and how powerful moments have come from simply pressing forward, even when possibilities seem remote.