Lost and Found

January 29, 2009

I had a ripping headache today. And it was my last swim workout before the swim-a-thon this weekend, so I went to the pool anyway. A tight swimming cap and googles pressing into my eye sockets. I was whimpering in no time.

Our instructor made an announcement: someone lost a ring in the pool last night. She suggested we could keep a look out for it as we swam.

Around me the voices bounced off the walls and the water: You can’t find a ring in this pool. It’s better to look when the pool is empty.

I raised my hand: What color is the ring? Silver, my instructor replied. 

I swam a lap. When I reached the wall, I said: I thought I saw something that looked like a ring. Elizabeth said: You were looking? I was swimming with my eyes closed.  Yeah, I was looking, I thought. I’m swimming. I might as well look for the ring, too.

On my second lap, I noticed the silver circle on the mosaic of white tiles on the bottom of the pool. I dived down and put my fingers on the ring. I surfaced in triumph, holding the ring in the air. Lady of the Lake meets Lord of the Rings.

The instructor announced I’d found the ring. Now the sound of clapping and cheers bounced off the water and walls.

When the lifeguard came to get the ring, I held onto it for a minute to study it. It had serious heft. A man’s ring. It had intricate engraving around the complete outer circumference of the band: a small cross with rounded edges and, to the right of the cross, an infinity sign. There was also a rose and some entwined vines.

I followed the lifeguard to get the story. The owner was in a fraternity, playing water polo last night when he lost the ring. He stayed late, after everyone left, swimming, searching for it. He left a note and his name and number. The guard said he’d call him after class.

I got back in the pool. I started getting nauseous after a few flip turns. I bailed after 30 minutes of practice.

But I thought about the ring as I walked home. About the confluence of events that led to its discovery, of its eventual return to its owner.

I went to class in spite of my headache. I listened and accepted the appeal to look for the ring. I had the intention and the belief that I could find the ring. And it appeared right under me in my lane, one of nine lanes, with three or four swimmers in each one.

So, I wonder. Which came first? Was the ring there all along and called to me to find it? Or did my intention and my belief (and the owner’s) put that ring where I could find it? So that it materialized for me because I believed and therefore I could see it? Or is it both? Or neither?

What I do know is that I feel the same way about the creative process, about a project or a journey or an adventure, like Isis Initiative, Inc.

First: an intention. Second: a belief that it’s possible. Third: acting on that intention with an expectation that a positive result is possible.

Because I’m a journalist and I’m just plain curious, I called the number I’d memorized for Abe, the ring’s owner. Hi, this is Cheryl Hatch. He sounded distant, confused. I found your ring. Oh. Thank you.

Not a lot of information forthcoming.

You’re in a frat? Yes. Which one? Sigma Phi Epsilon. You lost it playing water polo? It’s a beautiful ring. I noticed the cross and the infinity symbol. 

It’s a promise ring, Abe said. I’d almost given up hope.

Almost, I thought.


One Response to “Lost and Found”

  1. […] like the ring. Book Mark it-> del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg […]

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