I could hear in the distance, the whisper of running water, as I made my way down the little dirt path. I’d decided to spend the day exploring a new park in my community. I enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this little adventure, surprised at just how remarkably quiet it really was. It was so serene, that I felt as if I might be the last person on earth as I proceeded down the footpath. The sound intensified as I reached the bottom of the hill and followed the trail around a sharp corner, where suddenly, an unexpected mist covered my face. I came upon a magnificent, stone fountain sitting stoically, yet looking very out of place, in the middle of a large circular pond. I found myself quite taken aback with the spectacle before me and I stood mesmerized for a moment or two before venturing onward for a closer look. The fountain, which was at least twenty feet tall, towered before me with a fresh, clear waterfall spilling out and over the top into the welcoming pool below. As I stepped up to the little cement wall that encircled the entire body of water I leaned inquisitively over the edge. I could not help but notice the sparking, reflection of something shining beneath the surface of the water. Upon closer scrutiny, I found myself staring at a sea of glittering coins as vast and abundant as any pirate’s treasure. The assortment of dimes, quarters, nickels and pennies ensconced the bottom of the pond and I realized that I had, inadvertently discovered a wishing fountain.
At that moment, it occurred to me that this was quite a fitting discovery, since the past couple years of my life had indeed centered on hope, prayers and wishes. As I reached into my pocket in search of a coin, I recalled the many lonely days spent seeking the strength to lose the massive amount of weight that suffocated my soul and had stolen so many irreplaceable experiences from my life. I remember longing for the self-will to escape the firm grip that both alcohol and food, had somehow seized over my morose mind and hopeless spirit. I’d spent countless hours regretting my thoughtless decision to abandon my college education and forsake a lifelong dream of writing books and stories for others to enjoy. Oh how I had longed for the chance to complete my education. There had been many smaller, yet very significant wishes too. They were, for the most part, simple dreams to do things that most people take for granted such as a leisurely trip to the zoo or a weekend camping trip under the stars, enjoying a toasted marshmallow or a hot dog roasted on a stick, while telling stories around a raging campfire. I can remember wondering how it might feel to ride a Ferris wheel to the top of the earth and see the rest of the world scurry about below, as the wind blew through my hair and the sun kissed my face. Just then, I came upon the only coin on my person; a single copper penny.
Holding the shiny penny in my hand, I stared out into the sea of hopes and dreams and wondered how many people had stood right here, in silent desperation, contemplating their own aspirations and desires while taking great pains to select the appropriate wish. I was suddenly quite overwhelmed with the multitude of coins below and the hope this hidden fountain of dreams had brought to so many deprived or needy souls. And then it happened. I began to count my blessings. The past few years had been kind to me. I had lost nearly 150 pounds along with my dependency on alcohol. With these significant changes, I had been afforded the opportunity to regain my freedom, thus finding myself back in college after two decades of regret. I was writing again and had spent my entire summer going places and doing things I had never done before including a trip to the zoo and an enjoyable weekend camping adventure. Yes, I had celebrated a remarkable year. I stared at the penny, not really knowing what to wish for, after all, I had been quite fortunate to have witnessed so many of my own dreams come true; so lucky in fact, that it seemed wrong to steal a wish from someone else. I have discovered within myself, the strength to create my own destiny, the power to make my own dreams come true and the patience to wait for miracles to happen. I remained for just a moment longer and then, I slipped the penny back into my pocket thinking to myself, perhaps I will leave the magic here for someone else, and with that I headed back up the path toward home.