Richard whistled a tune with the early morning birds while he jauntily strode through the cool morning mist on the forest trail.  But, by mid-afternoon he was hot and sweaty and the well cleared path had turned into a hard to find trail that was occasionally obliterated altogether by weeds and brush.  Just when it seemed he had lost the trail altogether he heard the sound of rushing water.  He veered slightly to the right and pushed forward.

A tall narrow waterfall flowed into a muddy pond.  A large muddy pond to be exact and he couldn’t see where the water continued to flow.  He had hoped to find a river he could follow until he found a path again, but he wasn’t even sure how to get to the other side of this body of water.  He couldn’t climb up, the waterfall fell straight down a rock cliff and going around looked impossible.  The area surrounding the water was marshy and full of cat tails and other water plants.  He thought about swimming across, but jumped back in fear when he saw poisonous snakes swimming in the water.

He heard a voice calling to him.  “I’m over here Richard, come over here by me.  He looked around, not seeing anyone.  He heard the voice again, “I’m straight across the pond by the big tree, just come on over.”  Richard shaded his eyes against the sun and squinted, finally seeing a man in the distance next to the big tree.  Richard called back, “How am I supposed to get over there?” The voice floated across the pond and reached his ears, “Just walk on over.”

Richard started to feel frustration arise.  What was the guy thinking?  Couldn’t he see there was no way to just walk on over to the other side?  He called back, “I don’t see a way to get over there, can you come over here?”  Feeling a little smug, he waited to see what would happen.  His smugness disappeared when the man stepped out onto the water and started walking.  He watched him confidently stride across the top of the water, paying no attention at all to the poisonous snakes swimming in the water beneath him.

The man stopped in front of Richard.  “Do you still want to cross to the other side?”  Speechless at the moment Richard looked with amazement at the man and fear at the muddy water.  The man reached down and picked up Richards bag and turned to walk over to the other side.  After the man had taken a few steps, Richard found his voice and croaked out, “Wait, stop!  I can’t do it, not with those snakes out there.”  The man turned and looked back, “As long as you walk with me, you will be safe.”  The peace in the mans voice almost convinced Richard to step out onto the water.

Sensing Richard’s hesitation the man pointed to the waterfall and made a sweeping upward motion.  The water instantly stopped flowing down and started to flow up.  He turned and reached for Richard with the same arm that had just made the sweeping motion.  Dumbfounded Richard reached for the mans hand and in amazement walked across the pond with him to the other side.