I turned to walk away, but with my very first step I knew that I must stay. If I could not see what was in the pond, maybe I would have to feel it. Maybe, I would have to actually enter the pond and feel its dark waters upon me.
The thought of entering the murky water made me cringe. Should I keep my clothes on as some meager attempt at protection or should I enter the water as naked as the day I was born?
I knew the answer. I must face the depths without any external protection. I must find my protection in the courage that it would take to enter the murky pond. Courage, which was deep within my core, would be my only protection to face the darkness and the secrets that it held.
I shed my clothes quickly, before I lost my nerve, and jumped into the foreboding pond. I held my breath and immediately dove to the bottom. I navigated with my arms, as I was not quite ready to open my eyes.
When I touched the bottom of the pond, I knew that I must open my eyes while I still had enough air in my lungs to remain at the bottom. A vision of muck and grime awaited my opening eyes. But what was that-just over there?
Something golden was sparkling against the surrounding filth. Oh it must be rescued, I thought. It does not belong here. This golden thing is different from the dirt that surrounds it.
I swam to the golden sparkle and wiped the mud from its surface. The dark mud hovered in the water, waiting to again cover the golden object. I reached for the treasure with the intention of bringing it to the surface, but found that it was held fast to the bottom of the pond. I pulled and pulled, but it did not budge.
Finally, I stood on the silt-covered bottom to gather enough resistance to free the bit of gold. My toes squished into the sticky mud and my struggle filled the water with silt. I had to close my eyes to protect them and pulled upon the golden object while I pushed against the floor of the pond.
Yet nothing worked and I was running out of oxygen. Would I have to abandon the treasure that lay hidden in the murky pond’s depths? I stood still for a moment and released my hold on the golden object. It instantly sank back into the mire.
Only a small portion of it glistened through the filthy water. With shame, I realized that I could not free the treasure. Then I remembered that it had been my intention to “feel” the water. Yes, now I felt it. It felt like shame, and guilt, and most of all, it felt like fear.
The fear permeated every rock and every atom of the pond. No wonder that which was beautiful could not be freed. As I stopped my struggle, the mud that had filled the water began to settle-settle onto me.
I felt it clawing at my skin reminding me of feelings that I had felt outside of the dark pond. NO! I must leave these depths and the feelings that they aroused in me. I could not save the treasure. I would have to leave it in the murky depths.
Besides, I could hold my breath no longer. I must return to the surface. The thought of escape felt good and necessary. I swam to the surface with a mixture of relief and sadness, relief that I could free myself from the silt and sadness that I could not free the hidden treasure.
My head bobbed above the surface of the pond and a cool rain rinsed the dirt off my face. I swam to the edge of the pond and pulled myself onto a rock. Standing, I allowed the gentle rain to cleanse my body. The feel of the fresh water upon my skin rejuvenated and calmed me.
The mud of the pond was easily cleared, for it was never mine. I realized then that the filth of the pond was something that I had temporarily taken on, temporarily experienced.
I looked at the pond again. It seemed clearer now. The mud that I had stirred up had again settled to the bottom. I remembered the bit of gold that was still trapped there. How could I free it?
I would have to again enter the murky pond and swim down into its darkest depth. Could I remember my own purity, even when the mud clung to my form? Could I find the bit of gold hidden beneath the silt and bring it to the surface?
“Yes,” I cried to the sun that was breaking through the clouds. “I shall find what has been lost. That which has been buried and forgotten shall be found and returned.
“Something of great value is lost in the depths of the darkness, and I must retrieve it.”