As I was walking this morning, I came across a maple sprout fearlessly erupting from the lifeless stump of a maple tree, like a marine raising the flag on Iwo Jima. The tree was felled, no doubt, for good reasons. Yet it refused to die. Around its decapitated remains, an army of other shoots were rising zombie-like from the underground—wriggling up from caves and trenches—to defend their leader, reject their death sentence, and engage in hopeless battle against whirling nylon cords and spinning steel blades.
This made me think of my three teen characters in Canoedling in Cleveland battling rapids and waves in polluted waters, and how two of them fought surreptitiously in their subterrain against the environmental irresponsibility and racial intolerance of adults. I think of how they rise above it, free themselves from the past, and fight against the status quo.