The heavy scent of pine perfumes the air. It is dusk, and after two hours of heavy hiking we have finally reached our campsite for the evening. Setting my gear down, I relax and survey the surroundings. Hidden in a mountain crevasse, our campsite is boarded by pine trees. Most of the trees here are blue spruce, but aspens intermix in clusters of twinkling yellow-green color. Wandering around the area I take stock of the flora and hidden fauna of Nature.
By now the light from the sun is painting a picture-perfect sunset across the sky. I take a deep breath of clean, untainted air and continue my sweep. Everyone else begins to bark commands at one another and starts assembling the tents. I am instructed to look for firewood and reluctantly set out gathering small twigs and branches to serve as kindling.
Gathering bits and pieces of wood, no one notices me as I slip away into the forest. The trees act as a natural barrier between the distant voices of my company and I. Now left alone to my thoughts and the whistling quiet of the forest, I continue my sojourn. Beneath my feet the ground changes from the stiff hardness of dirt to a squishy, softer muck. Schlicp, schlicp go my boots and I realize that in my drift I have happened upon a tarn of water.
The lake is big and bottomless. Or so it seems. The dim light of the setting sun casts an unnatural glow across the lustrous top of the lake. The deep satin blue water soothes and seduces me. It calls out and I draw nearer, my body relaxing from all the strain taken throughout the work week.
Gazing into the clear water, the lake’s movement flows back and forth, caught in an endless exotic dance inviting me to watch. Peer closer. Peer into the swirling waters, they taunt, and perhaps you too can see into the past, future, and present. Feeling hypnotized by the lake, I wander about locating a place to root myself in trance. Another deep breath taken. From the reaction of my body towards the lake, I get the impression that this is what has drawn me into this weekend escapade; although it was my friend Becky who really talked me into it.
“It’s good for the soul,” she said. “It’ll help you relax and get away from all the stress at work.”
Nearing the shore my shoes are unceremoniously tossed off exposing my feet to the sandpapery feel of the ground beneath. Walking along the shoreline, my feet are massaged by the soft and rough sand, relieving them of all the tension that was twisted into them during the long and hard hike to the haven.
Collapsing, I look at the sky. The first evening stars make their nightly appearance and I can faintly recognize some of the constellations. A strong sense of serenity and peace enters my body, hugging it in a blanket of warmth. Strange, I feel as if I’ve been here before. Without warning, shapes begin to surface from the deep blue mirror and I return my sight back to the water.
Two large objects begin to swim parallel to the water’s surface and because of the evening light I can pass no judgment as to what these shapes really are. But they have sparked my curiosity and have taken hold of my imagination. My companions are long, about six feet in length, and take on an almost fishy appearance. But their skin is smooth!
That can’t be, my mind screams. There are no fish in freshwater lakes that big.
The strong smell of burning wood fills the air, and my stomach softly rumbles.
Yet, I am in no hurry to return to the campsite. Determined to find out what lurks beneath the water’s surface, I stay firmly planted at this spot. My eyes burn into the lake, intent on knowing what these images, playing against the water’s screen, are.
My body begins to sway with the waves. Moving closer to the shore’s edge I dangle my feet into the cool, silky water. The translucent form has reached out and in one swoop bound me in a inviting grasp. Voices now call out to me from the small glow of the campsite, off in the distance. I’m not paying them any attention. This is where I belong now. Looking away towards the glow I feel a light tug on my ankle from the water. An invitation, really, begging me to join with its freedom– deep into the basin of the Earth. The shapes in the water also speak out to me in the same way.
Aeons of secrets flood into my mind from locked chambers deeply embedded in the dark corners of my brain. There is now a choice to be made. One path cast in the light with familiar voices and the other cast in the shadows of the water and the dark unknown.
Shedding my unwanted clothes I dive. The water’s delicate-touch fills every pore of my body, caressing my skin like a lover longing for the first embrace. Kicking out with two powerful fins my slender bottlenose acts compass to guide me towards my home hidden deep within the water. Never again will my body feel the touch of the sun, it’s unwanted kiss fades into the night as the stars twinkle high above. All my worries pass out from me, forgotten into the water. My job, friends lost behind me huddled around the campfire all depart from my mind as the memories from a primal past surface and consume me.
The two figures shimmy towards my changed form, squeaking in delight, as I return back to my pod having regained my true sense of identity.