by Jay Willett ’20
One of the first places they showed me when I stepped onto campus was a pond tucked between the back alleys, like a young elementary student who misbehaved and was receiving punishment. Perhaps it didn’t deserve such punishment, being hidden away from all enjoyment and all life. I’ve only seen it once, and during that time, I believed that all things good in life would start from this point onward. Despite it having so little life left, it thrived alone in its mossy hole. The pointed stones that encased it acted as its tomb, a monument to a life through the generations.
I often wonder if a man my age pondered the same 100 years ago. It doesn’t beg for attention, in fact, it acts in utter painful modesty. The frogs that leech off its habitat croak to signify that the pond has died, a cannon to a fallen soldier on the brink of war and destruction. We lost it in time, the stench of alcohol overbearing, conquering, and disrespecting the life that once occupied, the vitality of those mossy banks and its inhabitants. It lays there dead, among the rubbish, among the deceased fish, a reminder of everything that is lost and never to be found.
Perhaps I’ll go there again and consider the possibilities of how and when it might have perished. When did people forget and rip out its soul? That soul, ripped though it may be, still lingers, much like the aroma of intoxication. Still it grips at the edge of the cliff, holding on for no apparent reason.
Even if it does manage to bring itself back up to safety, nothing awaits it except for the frigid stares. People who act warm and comforting, their actions go against their words, their ice pierces and rips the warm blanket that covers them. Even if the water was purified, and revived, the result would be the same.
Even if the world gave it one more chance, it would die as soon as the final bits of fabric freeze over. People would often assume that it died because of its own toxicity, but in the end, the water was poisoned and forgotten by its own creators. People often believe that the pond was the filthiest and most unclean thing on campus, but judging by every right and characteristic, it is by far the purest.
On the cliff, it doesn’t pull back up, instead it loiters there, waiting to die in the hands of the toxic. Rich poison seeps into its veins, turning its blood a venomous green. There it lies on its deathbed, in an eternal slumber, waiting for the day when one of the toxic decides to resurrect it. But it should know that that day will surely never come.
Towers are built and destroyed around the pond on the same day; it is an anchor to the origins of campus. Water spirals down, standing the test of time, but for what? Only to be mocked, to be forgotten, to be murdered by its creators. Isolated, the waterfall weeps its tears over and over again, crying for its deceased counterpart. Polluted, the pond seeps its muck time and time again, hoping for the impossible day that it’s revived.
I’m not writing this in hopes of reviving it either; instead, I would rather that its creators remember and pay respects to what it once was. So, I sit there, not exactly praying, but not in idleness, watching and listening to that dead water flow, acting like it’s still alive.
I knelt on the cobblestone, and peered over into its lonely dark abyss. Everything about the pond was innocent, everything from its birth to its demise. I lift my head and hover over the murky water, watching my eyes blink back at me in the reflection. I smile faintly, the pond had a point. Maybe we have a lot more in common than I’d like to admit. The waterfall is not alone in its cries anymore.