There I was, working out, doing my elliptical machine.  I promised myself I would do an hour.  My headphones were on and I was listening to Sousa marches, my favorite motivational exercise music.  I really needed them today because much of me was not in the mood to exercise, having returned from Palm Springs with a few added pounds.  The exercise room is in the pool house of the town house complex where Cameron and I reside, does in fact, overlook the garden area, patio, and of course, the pool.  It’s an inviting scene to view as one sweats away mindlessly humming along to Semper Fidelis.

Suddenly, I notice something in the pool.  At first, I thought it was a leaf or stick, until I noticed that it was swimming toward the edge of the pool.  I realized it was a more than likely a mouse that would probably drown even if it made it to the edge.  There was no way the poor thing would be able to hop out.  After debating with myself on whether or not I would have the motivational stamina to return to the elliptical, I dismounted after 28 minutes and headed for the pool to see if I could rescue this poor struggling mouse.  I took off my sneakers, waded down the steps, cupped my hands together, and was able to scoop the mouse up and throw him out of the pool.  “There you go Ebeneezer,” I said, feeling good about the rescue.  Why I called him that, I don’t know, I just did. The water logged, little mouse didn’t move at first, but by the time I returned to the elliptical, it was gone.

I was proud of myself, too, for returning to my machine and setting the timer for 32 minutes. How fitting that Hands Across the Ocean, was the next march on my iPod.  Soon I noticed another swimmer in the pool.  The ripple was smaller.  The debate in my head began again on whether I should interrupt my workout.  After all, I just had 17 minutes to go.

Yet, off I got to investigate the next struggling creature.  It was a yellow jacket, not one of the better bees. Once again the sneakers came off and down the pool stairs I went, cupping my hands to save the bee. “There you go, Jonah,” I said, as I quickly flung him to the dry cement, like I had done to Ebeneezer, the mouse, just eleven short minutes before.  I felt pretty good about myself as I returned to my machine.  In just over ten minutes I had rescued two little creatures, a mouse and a bee.  I laughed to myself at the names I had given them; as I lifted them to safety, saving them form certain death.

I couldn’t believe that after being interrupted twice, I returned to my workout, where normally I would have said that I had done enough for the day.  I turned off the iPod and finished my workout in silence.  Yet again I soon saw something else in the pool, but noticed it was just a dead palm leaf that had fallen from a nearby tree.  I thought about the creatures I had saved.  I thought too about, God as well as after life for both humans and creatures.  It was a warm reflective moment as I considered all of this. In a peculiar way, I felt very specially connected with Ebeneezer and Jonah. It was, in some weird way a baptismal moment, lifting living things out of the water that could have consumed them.  I wondered if they realized what had just happened.

My workout finished, I knew I had to return to the pool.  I had to go in. Down the steps I went. This time I fully submerged myself as I swam a complete lap, much of it underwater.  I got out of the pool, discarding the dead leaf that was floating around, looking for the mouse and the bee, that needless to say, had long disappeared.

I don’t know exactly why, but I said aloud as I left the pool, ” By the way, Ebeneezer and Jonah, my name is Jarv.  I’m telling you this so that perhaps someday, on the other side, we could connect; and thought you might just want to know my name.”


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