Happy 100 Days: 50

Halfway There: Waist Deep in Happy
 
Was this what it was like? To slog out to the river and begin beating shirts against a rock, and then to glance one inch to the left? To pause for a split second in the work that the clock forever demands? To let the attention stray? And to notice. . . yes. A glimmer. Was it like that blink? That shaking off of doubt? Down under the rippling surface, light dances off something never there before.
 
Was that here before?
 
This, the moment of restrained hope, must have felt just so. Did that first breath caught, that first incredulous pause, rise this way from soles to spine to widening eyes?
 
It can’t possibly be gold.
 
It begins as a dusting. Just one flake of light, there on the fingertips reddened by work and chill. A speck, a silvering bit of yellow sun, yes, awakening in the air. Venturing deeper into the swirl to see what else may be there makes the body thrill. Oh, immersion! A closer inspection of the riverbed gives the eyes a whole new angle on that rugged landscape.
 
One nugget then another. A handful then a pocketful. Never a surge, no — this is just the trickle of what has been floating right on past and within reach for years. Forever. It is a lifting out from the clear waters one small bit at a time of precious stuff. It is a billowing out of the apron to make room for the growing abundance. It is a gathering of riches.
 
Panning sometimes begins by intention, sometimes by pure chance. And only the rarest occasion yields anything but stone. The one certainty is this: only those who plunge in will ever find it.
 
Look a little to the left. Attend to the light. Suspend doubt. Dig.
 

 
This is the halfway mark. This is also the beginning. Today, something I never could have imagined trickled up and out of that dark river bottom. Until this moment, so much has been the eroding bank, the black minnow, the grit and cold mud. It has been the searing submersion in raw self.
 
Today, something gold and rare and so very light bobbed past. I saw it. I held its tiny shaving in my palm and felt the nothing weight of what it promised.
 
A new resource. A kind of ease. A half-ounce of hope. Something. I don’t know exactly what it is yet, but I have no doubt it should be gathered. I see now how much of it swims past my ankles. How much of it clings to my skin.
 
How close I have always been.
 
How very near I now am.
 

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