My cranium is filled with a little lake where my brain used to be. Years ago, I would close my eyes for the day, a ‘Gone Fishin’ sign painted on the fronts of my eyelids, and tromp down the shores of my consciousness with a fishing pole and an appetite for seafood. I used to love fishing when I was a child. I had an especial knack for catching little ideas.Their tails zig zagging back and forth as I slowly lured them with the bait of inner gratification.
More times than not, they would bite. Oh they tried to get away, panicked at the thought of being realized and terrified at the notion of being revealed. But I would reel them in with steady hands, drawing them, dripping, out of the safety of silence and drop their rebellious little bodies into the bucket at my side, already fantasizing about the gorgeous concoctions I would make with them later that night.
My favorite things to see were the Dreams. Their broad backs speckled with glowing splotches of hope, their scales briefly gleaming in the sunlight as I caught glimpses of their sheer size and strength. How glorious it was to see that creatures such as these existed, and in my own little lake! I never swam with such beings as their magnitude frightened me, but they were always enjoyable to watch from a safe distance, sitting on my quiet little pier on my quiet little lake.
All was well during those days. I very rarely got wet, nor ever submerged myself. I never witnessed the Dreams up close, nor were my catches ever very diverse. But I was content with the certainty of not knowing too much about what scared me to understand. My fishing pole and my pier were my friends, while the beings that lived in the sea were enigmas of the deep, only useful for passive observing and the occasional food for thought.
But upon my 21st birthday, everything changed. Now, I’m always hungry. I’m always curious. The peaceful surface of my little lake reflects my face back at me, almost as if to ask, “How much do you really want to know?” No longer can I escape for days of dreaming at the shores of my mind, silently waiting for the bobber of inspiration to signal it’s permission for me to catch a thought or two. The ‘lasso of too-little-time’ ropes me back to the front lines of reality, snapping the mindless submission of my fishing pole in it’s wake, demanding the sacrifice of that luxury as the price to pay for my independent mind and greater responsibility.
The lake has gotten bigger as it grows older, and the murkiness of the water clouds visibility of the bottom almost completely. Those dreams, with the scaly splotches look daunting now as they rise closer and closer to the surface, their sheer size disrupting the serenity of the lake. The ideas are a different breed, with the sweetest meat hanging off their tiny ribs, but the most venomous fangs living in their gaping mouths. The pier remains steady under my feet, but my toes strain to submerge themselves into the depths of discovery with these awesome creatures.
The wood creaks as I, for the first time, remove my shoes and my coat. The sands of the hourglass warn me of my fleeting time before decisions must be made. With inflated cheeks and shivering knees, I leap into the once forbidden depths of my thoughts. Peering through the darkness in search of an artifact of use, I see precious gems of imagination strewn haphazardly amidst beds of seaweed. Pearls of opinions calling me from where they lay imprisoned in the mouths of clams. My hair floats like a halo above me as treasures like I’ve never seen appear nestled in the sands of my mind. Were these here all along?
In no time at all I find what I need, brilliant in color and vibrancy. But before I head to the surface, I look at the ecosystem of life thriving around me. Floating in the midst of it all, I realized how much I had never seen from my safe little pier. How much I actually had to discover. How much my little lake had to offer.
Thoughts splash against the sides of my skull as coherency tries to drip it’s way off my tongue. Sometimes, these droplets solidify into a splash of clarity or sharp remark. Sometimes they evaporate before they can reach any sort of destination. Things inside my head have changed from since I was a young girl. And though the remaining murkiness of mystery no longer staves me away from discovery, I have learned that to find what one is really looking for, one must be willing to dive in.