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The Pool

December 9, 2010

There is no worse sickness for the soul,

O you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection.

The heart and eyes must bleed a lot

before self-complacency falls away.

She sees it from a distance. A slight glimmer, like a mirror turned just so, in the otherwise deadly stillness of the desert.  The heat is unbearable and heavy, clamping down on her as she stares for a long, long time, not trusting her eyes.  Finally, as if coming to a decision, she stirs to move, her trembling, careful steps turning her towards the east.

She came here long ago, seeking out her own path.  But somehow it escaped her.  So she spends her days moving in circles, lost, in this frightening, lonely place.  There is no reason here, no caution, no outlined plans, no chartered course.  There is only desert, sky, heat and self.

The pool of water sits calmly on this side of the horizon, and as she stumbles towards it she wonders if she is dreaming.  She pictures the perfect reflection she will see in the water’s surface, of the sky above, a stark blue.  A gaze into the heavens from this forgotten, worldly place.

She feels closed in sometimes, even though the world around her is empty.  Betrayed, though there was no one around on whom to lay blame.  Sorrowful, though she somehow could not find it in herself to shed tears.  And thirsty, a jagged feeling that ran through to her bones, that overtook everything else.

She stops a few steps away and watches the water.  It glints in the sunlight, almost blinding, full of secrets.  A certain knowing fills her.  She approaches and kneels down.

She gathers water in her hands, feeling the coolness seep into her parched fingers, and closes her eyes, savoring the moment.  She knows that when she looks, she will see the world scooped into her very hands.  In it she will find the escape she is so desperately seeking, the answer, the path to returning.

She opens her eyes, and looking down at the water in her palms, sees nothing but her own reflection.  It blocks out everything else, and leaves her with only her own face and hard eyes, mirrored back a thousand times, to contemplate.  Realization comes, and she weeps.

The idol of your self is the mother of all idols.

(Quotes by Rumi)

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