There is a framed picture in my home that I see every day. (Ahem. It’s in the bathroom.) It’s a picture I need to see every day.
In the picture, the sun is rising (says this morning person, but you may argue it’s a sunset) over a lake framed by small mountains. If you are looking straight at the picture, it’s almost as if the dock is right at your feet and you can walk to the edge of the dock if only you take a few steps into the picture. You can almost hear your bare feet make the splintered boards creak, disturbing the only other sound around: the loons calling out from the center of the lake. It’s a print of somewhere in the world – somewhere I haven’t seen, although I’ve been on docks like that.
I love sitting on the edge of the water on a dock with my feet swinging. But I rarely will go swimming in a lake like this, especially if I can’t see the bottom. I have a fear of dark water that stemmed from something that happened fifteen years ago while I was student teaching in a remote part of Indonesia. If you end up treading water in the middle of a crocodile-infested murky lake for close to a minute while you watch the logs a few yards off bob closer (knowing full well they aren’t logs), it will dislodge any security you previously felt in water. Before that, I was the girl who would jump in a swimming hole tucked away in the Mayan jungle first. I joined friends and dove in the Nile River where 9-foot cobras were spotted the day before, just to say I swam in the Nile. I consider myself pretty brave, but when it comes to dark water now, I will miss out on amazing moments and memories because of this fear. Too often now I’ll sit at the edge of a dock and not jump in, even if it’s a hot summer day, unless it’s in crystal clear, Caribbean-esque water. If I had gotten over this phobia, I may have been the one to find my dad’s phone at the bottom of Lake Canandaigua, right at the dock’s piling, nestled in soft grass. (Speaking of, sushi rice does not save a phone that has fallen in a lake. Just saying.)
Pushing me in a lake with dark water will only make my fear worse. It has to be something I choose to do, once I’ve gained the courage. It’s like jumping off the 25′ marble ledge in Dorset, VT. The water is dark and deep. But I choose to jump once or twice a year, just to remind myself that I can do it and there’s nothing to be afraid of. I shake for awhile after I take the plunge, and it’s not from the rush with the height of the cliff. It’s from the dark water.
Creating each day is a lot like this picture. Looking at the comfort of the stable dock and the unknown dark water beyond it is a reminder for me to not be afraid to try something new. I may find I enjoy it. It’s always good to be stretched out of our comfort zones – that’s how we usually end up growing. When we’re alone and stripped of all of our crutches, we realize who/what we truly believe in and what we’re capable of. Like that day in Indonesia. I was alone. Alone in a strange, war-torn country, treading water in the middle of Lake Sentani as my friends were just specks in the distance. It was only a moment as the boat swung in a wide circle to come and get me, but that was one of the longest moments of my life. And while I was pulled into the boat unharmed, I’ve had to force myself to take chances to grow since then. I’d much rather keep my butt on the dock.
“The Hybrid” is something that came from one of these growth spurts. I don’t often incorporate feminine touches (cough, cough) like this with my products, but at the request of someone to do so, I tried something new. Fancy knobs adorn a 200 year old piece of barn wood. The end result is a wall rack for your coats, hats, dog leashes, or anything else you may need a rack for. It’s a blend of old and new.
A lot of my creations over the past year have been products of leaving the dock. Maybe one day I’ll find this dock in the picture. I like to think it really exists. And in the meantime, I’ll keep finding ways to muster the courage to jump in the water, even if I don’t know what’s beneath the surface. I hope you do, too. Test yourself daily to leave the safety of the dock.
“When you come to the edge of all of the light you’ve known, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen. You’ll have something solid to stand on, or you’ll be taught how to fly.” ~Patrick Overton