I was lost in the forest, or at least so I thought. I was traveling without a trail, on a mission I didn’t fully understand. My mission and purpose had become foggy as I had been traveling for so long. My days were dragging together as I traveled the sloping terrain of the wooded forest. 

I had been traveling towards what I thought was north but the tree cover had become so dense, I wasn’t so sure anymore. I saw the sun during the morning and the faint glimmer of the moon at night. But that was all that there was to light the way. I was there to search for something. To build something? I had received instructions from my master, but they were vague and with every day, they slipped more from my memory.  But even without those instructions, something in my heart continued to guide me forward. 

My rations were running out and canteen was close to empty. What I needed more than directions right now was actually water. And soon food. But water would do for now. Fresh water.

So I found myself by a stream. I had heard the gurgling of its rushing water and followed the symphony of its music straight to the source. There it stood, or better said, there it ran—next to my feet. Three feet across and perhaps less than three feet deep, the stream that flowed was filled with clear, crisp water. After days of canned up, stale water, the sight of it just filled my bones with life. I bent down and drank deeply from the stream. A surge of life I did not know was possible filled me as I drank. Was this simply because I had found water to satisfy my thirst? Or was it because of the type of water I had found.

How could this be the only stream I had found in this whole forest? I had been traveling for days and yet this was the first stream I had found? And it felt way off my course. How could a woods only have one stream running through it? The trees were evidence of more water, yet this is all that I had found.

I filled up my canteen to the top with this fresh, flowing water. I drank and drank until I had my fill. And then I sat down at the edge of this stream and wondered, now what? I thought back to my instructions I received but everything remained foggy. It was like I purposely could not remember the intent of this assignment. Was finding this stream a part of it? In my mind, finding water was a necessity not an assignment but could it be one in the same? 

I sat and looked at this beautiful flow of water. The flow of fresh, cold, invigorating water: life itself. Where did it come from and where did it go? I put my hand in and then deeper in. Feeling how deep it must have been, I stood up and then took off my shoes, I walked in; embracing its coolness. At its deepest point, it went up to my thighs. There I stood in the middle, feeling the sandy bottom as the water ran through me and past me. Something at my feet caught my eye and I looked down into the stream and saw something shiny.

I reached down and pulled it out. It was a silver coin. No marking, simply the size of my thumb. I reached down, submerging my body into the water and felt around. Just underneath the sand I found another one. Digging a bit deeper, I found yet another one. This stream was slowly digging up lost treasure, I thought. And there must be more underneath!

Forgetting everything else around me, I went back to my bag and found a small shovel. I think I brought it for another purpose but it seemed perfect for what I was trying to do. Rolling up my sleeve and the cuffs of my pants and already soaking wet, I jumped back into the stream, shovel in hand and I started digging. 

A few inches deep and I found a few more silver coins. A foot deeper and even more showed up. As I dug, I dumped the sand and dirt on the shore. The deeper I got, the more dirt swirled around the crystal clear stream. But as with running water, it washed the loose debris down stream, keeping my working area constantly filled with new fresh water. As I dug, it felt like the stream was helping me, dislodging dirt and rocks and pushing them out of my ever growing hole.

I became fervored with my work. The deeper I dug, the bigger my pile of coins grew. A lesser person would have been happy with the pile I had found. They would have left the hole in the stream for its waters to fill back up eventually, hiding all evidence of what I had dug up. But not me. I kept digging. I wanted to find the fullness of what was there, to see to completion this work. Is this what I was sent in the woods to do? I couldn’t remember. 

I set up camp next to the stream and day in and day out, I dug. My hole went from a foot or two wide to wider than the stream itself and deep enough that the water was up to my waist. It was hard as the sand seemed to want to try to fill back where I already dug so I felt like I was digging even more than I had to. But I kept on going because there were more coins to be found. But beyond the coins, something impressed on me to keep going. That there was something I was accomplishing here. 

I dug so much, never stopping unceasingly so that I created a pool. A pool that the stream poured into and a pool in which the stream poured out. It wasn’t a filled pool, but it was a pool nonetheless. Water flowed in and water flowed out. I had created a source for water to be and as I leaned into my half filled pool, I scooped up the water that was in there. It was just as fresh, just as clear as the water from the stream as the water that sourced the pool. There was room for more in my pool but as I sat weary and tired, I saw a finished accomplishment. The depths dug and a pile of riches already found. 

I sat beside my pool that day, basking in its coolness, enjoying the melody of the running water into it and out of it. I closed my eyes and wondered if this was it in my adventure in the woods.

That’s when I felt a drop on my nose. I looked up and felt another one on my face. The slow cascade of rain started falling from the canopy of the trees, the sound of showers on leaves and dirt surrounded me. A light drizzle turned into a heavy pour as it began to rain hard. I retreated to my makeshift camp as the heavens opened up and sheets of rain began coming down. 

I huddled under the shelter and it felt like it rained for ages. The rain soaked me to my core, it refreshed me and weighed me down at the same time. I made a fire under my canopy and warmed myself, waiting for the rain to pass.

The rain broke as the sun began to shine and clear out the gloom. I emerged from my camp by the stream and looked out to see what had become.

To my awe and amazement, what I saw is what I never thought possible. There was my pool but the rain had filled up my pool. And most likely because my pool was dug on low ground, there flowed not one, not two, not three, but four streams into it and four out of it. The rain had created new streams on the forest floor, digging up ground and creating new paths for this water to flow, the great source of these streams unknown. 

And as I walked up to my fully filled and deep pool, I crouched down to take a drink—the water even more tasteful and wonderful made fresh from the new rain. I looked around realizing that I had changed the landscape of this forest by digging. I had created a place for water to flow into and out of. Had this been the point all along? Did my master know that this was what I was going to do? 

I looked down at the bag of coins I collected.  And back at my pool. I walked a few paces downstream to one of the streams that flowed from my pool. I turned my bag over and dumped the coins back out and into that stream. Those coins were only ever just signs to lead me towards accomplishing the impossible and now it was my turn to pass along this treasure to someone else. Have them continue on this work that I started, have them be a part of transforming this forest one more time. To make more streams and more sources of life and refreshment.

Because I knew it was going to rain again. It always does. 

2 thoughts on “Filled Up and Running Over

  1. Oh, Maddie. You have found your passion. Your writing is truly a gift….. one that I am so happy you are sharing. You are amazing. Love you so much, Carolann and Vic


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