The water was as smooth as glass, it mirrored the world; reflecting that same world back upon itself. Nothing disturbed this mirror except the cutting knife edged bow of a racing shell. Eight blades puddle the surface of the mirror, propelling the shell and it’s nine occupants down the river beneath a green canopy of trees. The eight rowers rhythmically eased their blades in and out of the mirror with the smooth precision of swordsmen and with the power of giants. Only the squeak of a slide and the murmur of the coxswain’s commands broke the magic-like silence that filled the air, the shell itself making only a whispered liquid “rush”.
The shell raced along as the morning sun cut through the fog, flashing off the mirror. The faces of the rowers reflected in the mirror, their mood and intensity caught for an instant in its surface. Their reflections seemed to say something about each of them in this silent, flowing world and at the same time passed them on as yet another to have crossed it’s musing surface. For an instant, a faint breeze threatened to shatter the mirror before the shell could cross its length. It was now that the coxswain decided it was time to test the skill of the rowers before the mirror disappeared. Two-thousand meters of eternity were calling forth the challenge.
All concentration was focused; the strengths and minds of all those in the shell working as one to ever greater speeds. For one moment, even as eight entities fought their own individual pains and weaknesses, all were one and all was perfect. The eight rowers’ mirror like visages of action, had but one purpose. A spell like trance fell as the coxswain called out for ever increasing power and speed. Time ticked by faster and faster as the rowers fought to cross the seemingly endless distance.
The pictures in the mirror blurred by, melting into a collage of colors. A line was crossed and the voice of the coxswain broke the spell; the rowers slumping over their oar handles, the blades of those eight oars smearing the surface of the mirror and wiping it clean. The challenge had been met. All knew that much more waited ahead. The mirror reflected the smiles of victory on the faces of these nine men, as it had captured the smiles and despair torn faces of so many others. The shell paddled on, the coxswains shout worn voice calling out yet a few more commands to guide the victors home.
With this the mirror smoothed itself, ready for another to enter its distant realm. The mirror saw and told all what became of the people who entered its domain. This land is a place where man and machine become one and succeed. This is a realm few experience, even fewer realize, and fewer still conquer.