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The Lake (Ingrid Kerr-Leesville, LA)

I sense her presence. I am going to meet her again. Although I cannot see her yet, I know she is near. I am walking on a dirt path which winds along a lake. The path is narrow and the lake is long, yet not very wide and I see evergreen trees growing thick on the other side. As I walk along the path, the lake is on my right and rocky outcroppings begin to rise out of the land on my left. I come to a dock and I see her waiting for me there. To pass time, she is throwing rocks at a wooden target high up in the rocky outcroppings. I know she has military experience, so she is adept at target practice and she easily hits the target with the rocks. I tell her I’m amazed at how efficiently she hits the target. She then misses with the next few rocks that she throws. This frustrates her, so I turn her attention to the dock. At the end of the dock sit three birds - a white pelican, a fat rooster with a plume of brown and iridescent green and blue feathers and the third bird, which, upon closer inspection is actually a small red dragon with wings. We walk to the end of the dock where the birds and dragon-bird sit. They are not frightened by us. They do not move away. I pick up the pelican and throw it into the air, much like a man throws a discus at the Olympic games. The pelican twirls awkwardly through the air, finally spreads its wings, revealing black tips on the end of each wing, and soars away into the sky. We are stunned by its sudden elegance. I turn my attention to the dragon-bird which transforms into an intricately designed clay castle right before our eyes. The clay castle is just small enough for me to hold in both arms. It has multiple round watchtowers and round arsenal towers, a middle bailey, an outer bailey and is completely lined with embrasures, merlons, and arrow loops at the top of its walls. She points out an imperfection in one of the watchtowers rising out of the outer bailey. I acknowledge the blemish and move my fingers over it to mold the malleable clay when the upper portion of the castle diffuses and morphs with the lower portion of the castle. We are not surprised by this at all, merely delighted, and she helps me shape and mold the fused, now shorter castle. Next, I look at the last bird remaining on the dock – the fat rooster with the plume of iridescent feathers. I take it and hurl it into the sky. It swirls through the sky, only to land with a plop in the lake just past the end of the dock. At first it appears to be swimming, but then it starts to sink and only its head is above water. I’m worried it will drown, but then it brings its beautifully feathered body above water again and begins swimming once more only to start sinking again a moment later with only its head above water. All of a sudden she and I find ourselves standing on the path again. The swimming-drowning rooster is far from us and I am so concerned that I begin to wade into the lake to try to save it. She stays behind on the path on the shore and watches. Just as I am up to my knees in the water I see a canoe approaching. It is filled with a family of five Africans; mother, father, a son and two young daughters. One of the daughters yells towards me, “Hey, it’s just a thought, but… we’ll save the rooster! ” The father rows the canoe past the end of the dock where the rooster is swim-drowning and the girl plucks it out of the water and pulls it into their canoe. She cradles it in her arms and her father continues rowing the canoe down the lake, angling for the shore where I know they will set the rooster free. I wade back to shore and return to her. She looks plump and healthy, but when I hug her and press her to me her body feels like skin and bones. She does not hug me back. Her arms hang limply at her sides. I hug her and hug her. It is a pulse-like motion. I squeeze and release, squeeze and release. I sense that I’m extracting and discharging the negative energy she has acquired due to this dilemma at the lake.


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