The newly ordained Balderston Baker Brimmer steadied himself on the deck of the brig, Liberia. His eyes were locked on the rough silhouette of Cape Mount rising one thousand feet in the distance. A year ago, in 1829, he had seen a print of the mountain, along with other depictions of the West African coastline. He remembered the romantic images of turbulent seas and rugged shores that had inspired him to accept a position as minister to American emigrants to Liberia. He continued to survey the terrain, and the etchings of white beaches, black rocks and dense forests became realities as the brig turned south.
Hours later, the massive, steep-sided, flat-topped landmark of Cape Mesurado came into view. Palms and mangroves, intermingled with unfamiliar varieties of trees and shrubs, covered the hills that lined a large bay. Beyond a sandy promontory, Balderston could see the buildings of Monrovia in the distance.
For the first time since he embarked on his adventure, he admitted to the fears that had been circling his brain: fear of the unknown, of Liberia, the fledgling colony founded by the American Colonization Society and populated by free-born and manumitted black slaves; fear of being one of a handful of Caucasians allowed to live in the all-black colony; fear of the natives whom his fellow passengers had painted as wild savages; fear of the fever that felled so many emigrants from the west.
Balderston continued to indulge his insecurities as the crew lowered the anchor. He became aware of a low din of muted voices. He turned and saw the other passengers, huddled in small groups, quietly expressing their own doubts and fears. He walked amidships and raised his arms.
Looking up at the sky, he intoned, “Heavenly Father, bless us, your humble servants, and bless this land….”
By the time he had finished his prayer of thanksgiving, the Reverend and his parishioners had reaffirmed their faith in God and Liberia and were, once again, prepared to take on the challenge of this strange and mysterious land.
(Written for a-to-z-challenge.com)