The other day, I was in the woods and saw color explode. I watched the red radiate, as bright and burning as the color of a sprouting rose or the dark red of an apple in the late autumn. The color drifted on the surface of the water, as if a layer of oil had been spilt, swirling in globs. Then came bursting orange and yellow, colors of the edges of fire, smoldering on hazy liquid. The green was alive, like the verdant greens of the moss growing on the surrounding trees. It was lush and glowing, ready to spread out and seep into the rest of the rainbow. At the end of the water sat an intense blue, thick and deep, so much that as I stared downward, it seemed the very sky itself sat on the surface of the water. No matter how much I tried to look past the solid color, I could never see anything below. Finally, a strip of stunning violent lay at the very edge. Under the rays of the sun, it glowed faintly and seemed to almost seep out onto the water. It was a gash cut into the watery surface, gushing tiny droplets of purple blood. I sat down onto the bank of the pond, my feet hanging only inches above the rainbow coating and stared straight into the layers of color. I wanted that explosion of color to seep into my brain.
The world I had entered was shimmering. Ripples scattered across the pond, glistening in the sun, creating little waves off blinking white that flew over the rainbow surface. The sunlight danced upon the water, twirling in a flash of brightness in one spot with a smatter of ripples, then suddenly appeared in another with more revelry. Sitting high above them were tiny lines, weaving in and about, that sparkled under the sun’s rays in a dazzling network. These webs of light hung between the broken bark of old logs, the only things that could break through the colorful surface below.
At the edge of the pond, I almost had the desire to reach my hand and scoop through the blur of pigments. Then I too could feel the bursting color. Then I too could dance upon the surface, absorbed into the shining light, watching glowing spider webs gleam in the air. I just couldn’t do it. I wanted, even more, for that world to remain untouched. I believed my hands could only unbuild what my mind had constructed so carefully.
A couple days later, I returned to the small pond in the woods. The color was now a uniform murky green and a layer of dirt and decaying vegetation seemed to have been tossed across the surface. Peering into the water, I could see the dirty haze only broken by blotches of dark sand and shattered twigs on the pond floor and a distorted reflection of a figure on the surface. The logs that stuck through appeared fractured in many directions, covered in ragged moss and spider webs whose tiny lines sagged down towards the watery surface. Yet more than anything, I noticed that nothing moved on the surface of the pond. There was not a twirl of color, not a twinkle of light.
I kept my distance. I didn’t even really want to sit next to the pond. The banks repulsed me. I kept my arms down by my sides, gazing at the anchored pool of water in front of me. I could feel a little knot appear in my chest, as if a tiny hole had emerged in my stomach. It’s the knot you feel when a promise is broken and it’s the knot you feel when a lie is revealed. I stood there for a while and then I walked away. I don’t know if I should have left that place; I guess I didn’t really have a choice. I do know that pieces of the stomach and the mind can be left somewhere, at the bottom of a pond or on its shimmering surface. It’s hard to tell what happens when those pieces disappear.
Hunter Moskowitz is a sophomore in ILR. He enjoys playing the cello and running. His posts appear on alternate Mondays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.