Surrendering Talents

I had a dream. An old man was dropping objects from a bag into a lake. I seemed to be able to read his mind. The first items to go in the water were a cricket bat and a ball; they eddied and floated away. “Goodbye little friends, and thank you for the joy you once gave me. My limbs are too stiff for you now.” A theatrical mask followed. I recognized it from when I played El Gallo in amateur theatre, years ago during my youth. “And my voice cannot hold that tenor anymore,” the old man said. “But it was a happy time. Thank you.”
I walked closer and there was an odd familiarity to this old man, I had seen him somewhere. He took out a guitar and set it adrift in the water. “And this can go along too. My fingers cannot reach the chords fast enough anymore – arthritis.” It was a good Catania, one I had played often but never owned, and therefore, always desired.
A tear rolled down his cheek as he took out a well•thumbed notebook. He flipped the pages, smiling at some lines, getting angry over others, looking proudly at the horizon from time to time. “You are hard to give up,” he said hesitantly. “You are all my thoughts, desires, and machinations. You are the messages that came to me from across the water, in the middle of the night, that I recorded; the seeds of the novels and stories I wrote for many years. Until you stopped coming.”
He rose and paced, slowly at first, reaching a furious march, to and fro, scratching his head, gesticulating, pleading with some unseen entity, reluctant to let go of the book. Finally, as if embraced by an invisible but caring hand, he calmed down and turned towards the horizon once again. “What is in here does not belong to me; it was placed in my custody and stewardship, for conversion into lessons for others – my readers. And that I have accomplished. Now, like me, it must return to its source.” He set the book floating out into the middle of the lake, where it weaved and bobbed with his other talents. As he removed his clothing and prepared to enter the water, I rushed over, determined to rescue him, yet knowing I was going to be too late. Who was I to save him? I caught a glimpse of his face as he slipped into the inviting lake. The old man was me.

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