Facing Fears

The Daily Post – Sludge


The sludge oozed and squished out from between my toes as I stood ankle deep in the cool water. I wiggled my toes, burying my feet deeper and tilted my head back. There was no light in the inky sky – no moon, no stars. The blackness enveloped me and spurred me further. My eyes strained for a tiny speck, a glimmer of light from a distant star. An imperceptible part of me, perhaps from my heart or my soul, searched for hope, but I became lost in the darkness.

I exhaled, focusing on the way the air emptied from my lungs and expelled out my parted lips. I could feel every cell in my body, every firing neuron, the blood in my veins and arteries.  The water crept up to my waist; my hands brushed over the surface, and my fingers caught the lily pads that surrounded me.

Neck deep, I leaned back. Weeds tangled around my legs. Years ago I would never have dipped in a toe let alone immersed my whole body. My eyes searched the sky again, one last ditch effort. Seeing nothing, my hands gripped the long tendrils from pond plants, and I twisted them around my wrists and closed my eyes.

I took a deep breath and pushed my head further under the water. The murky liquid filled my ears and amplified my beating heart. I opened my eyes. A point of light shimmered and warped above me. I pulled my hand free from the weeds and reached out. The thumping in my ears grew louder; my lungs burned. I pulled my other hand free and paddled furiously toward the surface.

My lungs filled with the warm night air. I coughed and sputtered. With the remaining strength I had in both body and mind I broke the bonds that tied me to the pond and made my way to shore and collapsed.

A gentle breeze stirred the night sky, pushing away the clouds and revealing a brilliant starlit sky. Tears fell and a sigh of relief escaped my lips.

For years my fear of the pond, the sludge, the water, the weeds, had prevented me from enjoying so many things at our camp – canoeing and swimming off the nearby dock. And now that I had conquered my fear, I knew that I could conquer anything.

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