Monday, June 05, 2006

Where the Sharks Are

I lay down in the water floating. The pool is cooler than my body temp but my body quickly adjusted to the point where it felt like I am floating on nothing. I breath carefully because a deep exhale would send me under and dramatic breaths caused me to bob like a buoy in a windstorm. I looked up into the evening sky and see airplane lights and a few stars peaking through the thick Las Vegas night. The only lights are the lights of the pool, underwater, causing the pool to have a clear glass with a green tint look. But those lights make all the difference.

We had a pool growing up on the farm and I used to like to swim at night there too, until something happened. That something was a movie called Jaws. After I saw the movie I felt strangely uncomfortable swimming at night. As I would float I could almost hear the “DaDumDaDump” of the movie soundtrack, as the shark got closer. Any little movement or a touch from the floating chlorine dispenser would send me into waves of convulsions escaping the danger. Years later at the cottage owned by my in-laws I would swim at night and be reminded again of things that swim, unseen, under the surface. While I was able to control the convulsions I would feel an adrenaline rush if some seaweed brushed my leg during those night swims. These swims were as calm and relaxing as a rollercoaster ride.

The difference is light. Illumination causes fears to flee. Darkness creates unseen and unimaginable and, normally, unfounded dangers. I float easily and relaxed in a lit pool, but uneasily and nervously in a dark one.

There are so many areas that could use this as a metaphor I don’t know which one to chose from: The illumination of knowledge over the darkness of ignorance; the shadows of lies versus the shining light of truth; the beauty of the full spectrum of color compared to the monochrome grays; and the hidden fears dispelled by shining understanding. All of these could be used and would make a great column – but I won’t. I will use this for a simpler message: Stay in the light! Flee from the darkness! Simply, don’t go where the sharks are.

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