The first time I heard a refuge visitor calling for help, it came from the old ferry lake. Following the yells, I walked onto the aluminum fishing pier. Two bewildered college girls sat cross-legged on a floating platform, in the middle of this blackwater inlet of the Waccamaw River.
The platform had come down the river with a flood after Hurricane Florence, and someone had tied it to the pier. Until twenty minutes before, when the girls untied the platform and drifted into the middle of the lake. No paddles. No plan. But they did have a smartphone, and they were engrossed in a video call with a boy. One girl was bragging about how they were, no joke, stuck on a platform in the center of a random lake.
The sun was a diffuse glow behind gray clouds, and the whole scene felt pretty typical for the Refuge of Lowered Expectations. So, I pulled out my phone to document the encounter.
“He’s taking photos of us,” said one girl proudly, and the other posed.
“Not much happens here,” I shouted. “This is too good to pass up.”