In fact, there are three alligators reveling in my five-acre pond, but two have left for a foray into a nearby swamp. I know they'll be back. They come and go according to the state of affairs in my life.
The pond at the backside of my property is full of crystalline water trickling in streamlets down the eastern slope, where it is fed by underground springs and seepage from the water table.
My pond is a theater where flora and fauna enact the drama of my outer world--these days a world of doctoring, patients, employees, FBI agents, federal prosecutors, multiple friends, and my lawyers. Money, like energy, is constantly changing hands. I am depleted or restored according to the state of the pond. It's a stage where I project my inner drama. Therefore, I must take care not to be too lavish in my description of pond life, in order not to reveal and undermine the sacred underpinnings of my world. Each one of us is constantly our deepest conflicts and truths in the circumstances that organize themselves around us. We call the circumstances our outer lives, but in fact they are a mirror of our inner lives. The events of our lives are germinating within us before they every surface as "reality."
Chemists refer to water is the universal solvent. Many substances are dissolved and reconstituted in my pond water. I had it tested two months ago, and found out that it's high in calcium, iron, magnesium, naturally occurring phosphate and sulphites. These microminerals provide nutrients for the flourishing protozoan populations that inhabit the water.
If I examine a drop of this pond water under the 120x microscope in my office I find that it is richly populated with amoeba, paramecia, spider-like rotifers, ciliated stentor, and silica-shelled heliozoans with pseudopodia reaching out like long arms to capture food. There are barrel-shaped coleps, which spin rapidly as a way of boring into the succulent contents of the protozoans they capture for dinner. There is didinium, which injects the army of trichocysts it carries around to paralyze its prey when it finds something interesting to eat. Dileptus, too, uses chemical warfare, stretching its body three times the usual length to subdue other protozoans with extrosomes before engulfing the enervated creatures. The red bloom I see on the edges of the pond is made of microscopic euglena, a protozoan that manufactures red pigment as sunblock to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation.
Green globules of algae have multiplied like strings of miniature Christmas ornaments along the edges of my pond, as they bask in the sunlit summer water. I can remove the algae with long-handled sieves and haul it in my wheelbarrow to use as fertilizer for my vegetable garden. Algae is responsible for producing a large percentage of the world's oxygen supply, and it serves as sustenance for most aquatic life--it's at the bottom of the food chain. Since it's high in protein and contains dozens of important nutrients it can be dried and used as a food source--many scientists have proposed blue-green algae as a way of feeding undernourished populations. I guess I could eat it, in a pinch, but for now I'm feeding it to my chickens and my compost. Some of my patients take capsules of blue-green algae every day--they claim it increases their energy quotient and prevents cancer. The worms in my composting worm pit will gobble it up. Maybe they'll live forever.
An otter spent a few weeks sunning itself on the clay slopes of the pond, sleekly dipping below the surface from time to time. It looked like the seals I saw on footage of the Arctic Circle on Animal Planet. My snapping turtles surface now and then for air, and frogs and toads sing so loudly after dusk I have to shout if I'm walking around the pond and want to say something to a friend. Last month, I stocked the pond with crawdads, minnows and snails--I hope the critters multiply quickly, because I'm thinking of putting in a few bream and bass before next spring. There are eagles' nests in the pines behind the berm--I expect they'll be stealing some of those fish. I'll have to stock enough to share. One day this spring, I counted forty-three baby eagles swimming in rows like little ducks across the pond. My landscape specialist says she's never seen such a thing.
The ecosystem of the pond is not so different from human life--my life--in Gainesville, which is its own sort of pond. From my standpoint, the FBI agents are like those protozoans who inject a paralyzing toxin into other protozoans in order to eat them. I have been injected, but I'm not paralyzed and I haven't been eaten. In fact, I'm recovering--just as my pond is gaining strength. I don't think I'm the right kind of food, anyway. Those toxic protozoans probably need to move on to more appropriate prey. So they lost some expensive toxin--what are they going to do, inject more?
On a macroscopic level, the pond is a manifestation of my defense. The alligators and snapping turtles are emboldening: I have a vicious back-up. True, it's psychological--but that's where everything real begins. When I want to know what's happening in my life, one place I turn is to the pond. Every neophyte psychologist knows that water is a symbol of the unconscious. According to depth psychologists, the unconscious generates everything that happens in our outer world.
Welcome, alligators. Welcome, snapping turtles. Stand your ground. Defend my territory. Perhaps you're right. If our frontal and prefrontal lobes are going to be of no use in this battle, we'll have to resort to prehistoric measures.