12 Jun 2016

The Pond

Long, long time ago, long enough that I can't recall exactly when was the last time I had it, I often had a recurring dream about a pond. It was a small pond, about the size of a home swimming pool, circular-shaped, located in between a prairie and a forest. The water was dark and blue-green, its depth was a greater mystery. There was a wire fence stretched from left to right, bordering the prairie from the forest, obstructing any entry from the prairie into the forest, vice versa, and it curved around the pond, so the pond technically belonged to the prairie area. The only way to get into the forest was to cross the pond, where there was a small passable hole on the curve of the fence, leading into the dense trees.

What so compelling about the pond was that it had waves. It produced continuous sea waves. Not gentle waves, but South Java Sea kind of waves. If you have ever stood on a beach in Java facing the Indian Ocean, you'd know what I mean. The tides were high and violent, they came from the center of the pond as if it was a stomach of a giant. Each wave rose from the very core, rapidly, and became a tsunami, towered above me, as if it was going to pull me, drown me in its thick alien body, and rip me, gnaw me, and would never let go, until I am nothing but faded clothes and strands of hair lying on its bottom like those victims of Titanic. I wondered how such small water body could contain a vast amount of liquid. As if the pond was bottomless, and it had its personal moon with supernatural gravitational force that kept pulling the water up. However, after becoming such huge wave, the water always fell back into the center of pond. It splashed outside and wetted the stone rim of the pond, but never once leave it.

The pond radiated an ominous feeling. A sense of danger. A warning.

However, in each dream, I stood right in front the pond's mouth, one step from the stone rim. I gazed at it with amazement. I was, and wasn't afraid. It gave me this calming feeling. I observed the pattern of the waves, like a small kid who loved to sit by the sea. I watched the water towered, lowered, towered, lowered. As if challenging it, in each dream, I did nothing but looked right into it. It drew my whole attention. The prairie and forest, birds and grass and trees and everything there had become such insignificant background. I wasn't sure anymore if they were there in the first place. Perhaps the pond just needed a pseudo location for me to map it, but once I recognized it in my mind, all the false landscape that surrounded it would cease to exist.

I knew there were only two beings whose existences were real: the pond and me.

I stood there facing the pond. Something at the back of my head whispered to me, "You got to cross it." It pointed at the opening on the fence, right across me. I spotted it every split second the tsunami fell back into the pond. I asked back, "But how?"

That something at the back of my head didn't answer me, and I couldn't figure out the answer myself either. I know that the something was me too, and I know, each and every side and corner of me wouldn't know how to cross the pond. What was it at the other side of the pond, across the fence, in the forest, and of all the paths in the world, why must I cross the gargantuan waves to obtain it?

And for those years in which the dream kept recurring, I chose to stay at the same spot, staring at the waves. Once or twice I saw an inflatable boat, bright orange in color, leaning against the wire fence. Once or twice I saw a sturdier wooden row boat and an oar. I didn't use them. I didn't try. I was too captivated, yet too scared.

Once, and it happened only once, the sky was cloudy like the storm was about to break in. The pond was still. The water reflected the grey sky. I stood there as usual, one step away from the mouth. I saw stone steps, like in a Chinese garden, slightly submerged below the surface. It led to the other side of the pond. I knew I should cross. Right now. This was my only chance. The other side looked calming. The forest wasn't as dense as I thought, there were pink and purple flowers on the forest floor, and I saw some glow on the faraway sky, through the opening between the tree canopies.

When I was about to move, when my body decided to move, I felt a warm lightness in my being. As if my existence was no longer a burden to the world. As if I belonged. As if I was forgiven.

I woke up never knowing whether I have really crossed the pond, and what lies on the other side of the pond. The dream never occurs again ever since. But if it ever appears again, I've vowed to myself to cross it. I will.

June 2016