As I sat reading in a chaise lounge, I looked across the pool to the deep end and saw something swimming across the top of the water. It was just a few feet from the rushing waterfall where water poured continuously, so the creature’s movement was constant. It appeared to be struggling to get out, to reach the safety of the edge. I believed it was a bird.
Several years ago I wrangled from the water a young bunny that had fallen in the pool and found refuge on the ledge of the skimmer. Only when the automated pool pump turned on to begin its day’s work was the young rabbit scared from the safety of the ledge and began paddling for its life in the water. I yanked off my long pajama bottoms and raced down the steps into the shallow end to reach for the bunny. I did not know until that moment that bunnies can actually scream. A quick grab and a few steps away, I put the soggy, squealing rabbit down on the patio, where it immediately dashed off to safety never to be seen again.
So with my imaginary wildlife rescue badge pinned to my top, I kept my eye on this struggling bird, put down the book I was reading, and stood. The hairclip laying in my lap fell and hit the patio. The crack of the plastic hitting the concrete sounded like it might have broken. I didn’t care; this little creature fighting for its life in the deep water needed my immediate attention.
I was wearing my prescription sunglasses, a necessity if I want anything in the distance to have sharp edges. The bird, or was it a mouse or a mole, turned sideways with the current of the water. Its reflection beneath it in the water amplified its size. I hurried around the side of the pool and got closer, trying to decide how I was going to lift it out. I didn’t want it to scream like the bunny had, and last year’s attempt to rescue a vole left me cussing at the little varmint when it bit my finger.
I got to the poor struggling creature and saw no bird, no mouse, no mole, no vole. It was only a tan colored beech tree leaf dancing and bobbing in the water. It was clearly enjoying the ride. While its tree-mates mostly still hung on to the limbs nearby, this one had taken its final bow, drifted into the waterfall, and landed for a swim on a beautiful day. It was I who saw only the struggle, even with my prescription shades.
What about you? What do you see in your own life that appears to be a struggle but may really be a big dose of normalcy? Can you think of a situation when you mistook something and your controlling personality rushed in to fix it, only to embarrass yourself in the end? Things aren’t always what they appear. Let us not automatically assume the worst. Sometimes fallen leaves just want to float.