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  • The lake parted to admit me. It was a shallow dive, only five or six feet down, but I was enjoying the view. I could spot shadowy fish far below, but I was content to watch them at a distance. Until a voice inside me insisted: “Dive deeper!”

    Why did I listen to that voice? Like a hypnotized subject, I resurfaced, took in a huge gulp of air and headed straight down. At 20 feet, the light was fading and the water was becoming cold. I thought I’d gone far enough, but the voice roared, “Dive deeper!”

    I kept diving. I was now among the fish, who darted away from the ungraceful intruder as quickly as they could. I hit the bottom harder than I'd intended, and my outstretched arms sank far into the mud. Where they became hopelessly stuck. I pulled and twisted. I strained. I was held fast. I finally managed to work one arm free, but my air was running out quickly.

    Questions entertained by a drowning man: What is it about some people that makes it so hard for them to accept what is? Why is the view from THIS mountain not enough for them, as long as THAT mountain lies ahead? What genetic mutation makes endless exploration and examination their default position?

    I swore. I prayed. I gave a violent tug with the last of my energy and the mud released its grip. For the next 30 seconds, I was a human lotus – starting its journey in cold and darkness, rising determinedly, moving always --always -- toward the light.

    I broke the surface and took my salvation in big, greedy gulps. I rejoiced at my close escape and gave thanks to whom- or whatever had helped engineer it. I was done with diving. From now on I would join the ranks of those who stayed close to home, both physically and spiritually. I would be safe.

    But the voice whispered seductively, "Dive deeper." So I dove.

    (Dedicated to Alex Noble)
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