Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

“Gods Watching,” by Daniel Holland


A few summers ago Daniel and I went swimming in Clear Lake together...on the swimming beach at the Clear Lake State Park. I'm a strong swimmer and he's more a dog paddler. When he ran into some water plants, he panicked and it felt as if he were having a heart attack. I swam towards him and pulled him out with a life-saving grip I'd learned as a teenager. The panic attack went on even after he rested on the beach, rode in the car, and returned home. We called 911 just to make sure he was really alright. I even put pizza in the oven so we could have something to eat in case we had to go to the hospital. This beautiful insight of Daniel's came out of our tricky experience. --JGR


The algae tangled around my legs as I struggled to catch up with my sweetheart swimming in front of me. I felt the green slimy stuff sucking me in like a creature from the black lagoon. I tried to go as far as I could on my own power. I didn’t want to ask for help until I had to.

I felt more than one god out there.They were all attending the Gods Convention. They conferred and decided not to take me now. They were joking with me. My mission to grow and learn wasn’t over yet. The gods didn’t want me dead yet.

Maybe there’s a Jesus god, a Buddha god and a Muslim god. Maybe there’s a whole bunch of gods up there. Why does there have to be just one? People even argue about the color of god. But, if there were a lot of gods, they could find the one right for them and be satisfied. They’d be surprised to see those other gods up there.

It’s easy to drown in a body of water. It’s not so easy to drown in your own sorrows. Especially with all those gods watching.

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  1. Daniel, this is such a beautiful piece and such an important insight to remember. "All those gods watching." I love this line. Yes, they must be watching us all the time.

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