Little Timmy was an impressionable youngster. He believed in Santa Claus. He believed in the Easter Bunny. He believed that if he stepped on a crack he would break his mother’s back, so he always looked down as he walked, carefully avoiding all the cracks he could avoid. He figured that no one was perfect, so that particular admonition had to be a cumulative kind of thing or maybe it forgave the unintentional and only delivered on spiteful stampings and the like, otherwise, he thought, his mother’s back would surely have been broken by now, if only by accident.
So it seemed that magic happened one summer day after an evening thunderstorm when both Timmy’s parents confirmed the myth that a pot of gold could be found wherever the end of a rainbow met the ground. They were all staring at an intense rainbow at the time that tale was told. So, knowing that his poor family could make good use of a pot of gold, Timmy bolted away from his parents, ran headlong for that rainbow which seemed to be just down the road a short way.
He heard his parents calling for him to stop, to come back, to give up. He knew that they would tell him it wasn’t possible to find the end of a rainbow. But he didn’t want to hear them express their surrender-to-fate cynicism yet again. He was going to be their hero. He was going to find that end-of-rainbow pot and get those riches for his family.
He could feel his heart pounding against the inside wall of his chest as he ran. The rainbow was fast. He didn’t even think it was moving at all, but no matter how much he ran, the rainbow always seemed to be the same distance ahead of him. Clearly, the rainbow was just about as fast as he was. The darkly wet road upon which he was running cut between farm fields, then it traced through a woodland. Still, Timmy ran. Surely, the rainbow would stop sometime, he would gain on it and find that pot of gold. Through the woodland, past more farm houses and barns, down a small hill, over a stone wall and into a large meadow, heavily-bushed with tall blueberry bushes.
Timmy had sprinted about a kilometre, he thought, maybe more. He had to stop. He bent over and grasped his knees to support himself as he heaved for breath. He even hung his head, opened his mouth, not caring that he drooled openly onto the meadow grass and weeds, such was his overwhelming need to re-energize his spent, little body.
Cow flops. There were cow flops, also known as cow patties, all around him. He’d failed. He felt like one of those flops. He just couldn’t catch that rainbow. Then he looked up to see just how many of those silly cow flops were around. That’s when he saw the pot of gold!
Suddenly, he was breathless again! Could he believe what he was seeing? He didn’t even know the word ‘stereotypical’ at the time but he did sense the peculiarity of the pot being just like a book illustration of a witch’s black cauldron. Only this cauldron was not brewing bat’s wings and frog’s eyes and lizards’ tails to make some evil potion. This cauldron was filled with shiny gold coins! He didn’t remember having reached the rainbow, as such, much less having traced it to its end, but there was no mistaking the cauldron full of gold coins sitting among the cow flops and berry bushes of the meadow.
It was his! He had done it! He’d be able to enrich his family and be living proof that optimism and effort pay off!
He walked over to the pot and tried to lift it. It was way too heavy for him. It wouldn’t budge. He looked as best he could to where it met the ground to see if it might be fixed in place somehow. It didn’t seem to be affixed in any way. He tried to lift it again. Nothing moved. He tried to spin it and slide it. He could sense that it had some mobility but it moved only a small fraction of an inch, a centimetre perhaps, not more.
Timmy put both his hands behind his head to think, to breathe deeply and to try to re-energize his strained torso muscles. Suddenly, the pot began to fade! He quickly put his hands on the pot to try once again to move it. The pot regained its lustre. There was no evidence of the rainbow, but Timmy assumed that the pot of gold would go to where the rainbow went unless it was claimed, unless it was moved.
The rainbow was gone. As long as he held the pot, he had established claim on the gold. It was his. But he couldn’t move it! No one else knew where he was. He wouldn’t be able to run for help without the pot disappearing and going to re-join the rainbow.
How long could he hold onto the pot? He’d need to eat. He’d need to sleep. He’d need to attend to other bodily functions. He was thirsty.
Was that a bear he’d just heard a few bushes away? He’d heard that bears were attracted to berry bushes. No, he thought, it was just a cow. It had to be a cow, look at all the cow flops. Why was no one calling for him? Surely he could hold onto this treasure, this dream, until someone from his family came to find him. Couldn’t he? Would they even come to find him at all? Would the pot of gold still be there for them if he died of thirst or hunger while still holding onto the pot?
Darkness began to fall. He was a long way from home. He didn’t even like walking through those woods along the road in daylight, much less in darkness. A bat fluttered low over Timmy’s head. The night predators were emerging. Mosquitoes were biting him, but every time he’d try to swat one, the pot would begin to fade. It seemed his claim was dependent upon him keeping both hands on the pot.
He wouldn’t be able to defend himself and hang onto the pot at the same time. He seemed to be in an impossible predicament. He thought of his family. He wanted to help them. He might even have been able to help them if only he was bigger, if only he was stronger, if only they loved him enough to care where he was. It didn’t matter. He loved them. He had to hold onto this pot of gold, his pot of gold, their pot of gold.
The crux of the issue eventually came to Timmy. It began with him questioning whether his family would rather have a pot of gold and a dead Timmy or no gold and a living Timmy. There was little doubt in his mind. They’d want the gold. Oh they’d grieve and carry on, he was sure of that, but they’d be happier with gold, not so happy with just stupid little Timmy. He had to hang onto the gold. That was all there was to it.
Then Timmy’s mind went past the beginning of the problem. There was one more person to consider. Him. If it truly was his own survival at stake, did he love himself enough to sacrifice being the hero, very possibly the dead hero instead of making his family happy to be rich? He was a worthwhile person even if he received little evidence of his worth from others. He knew he was essentially a good little guy. He had a right to live. Who knew what good things a living-Timmy might accomplish in this world? Who knew what bad things might befall a family that didn’t know how to handle wealth? This was not a clear-cut issue at all!
Timmy pondered. He evaluated. He forecast outcomes. Even though he was easily duped due to his youth and inexperience, he didn’t feel he was duping himself as he thought and thought.
The whole process was torturous. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that thinking about it was getting him no closer to a solution, no closer to understanding, no closer to the truth. Thinking about it was not bad, but it was not providing good guidance. He stopped thinking about the problem and began turning himself over to feeling.
He loved his family. He loved his dog. He loved bright, sunny mornings, nights with star strewn heavens and nights with big, full moons. He loved the trees on his front lawn. He loved trying to find his Grandpa in the clouds that towered above him in the sky. He loved seeing rainbows, though he doubted he’d ever chase one again. He loved living. He enjoyed living. Feeling, not thinking, gave him clear guidance.
Timmy cried when he let go of the pot of gold and watched it vanish before his eyes. He knew he’d receive a scolding or worse when he got home, not because of losing the wealth of the gold but because of not heeding mom’s and dad’s calls to stop. They wouldn’t believe his story anyway. He’d tell them he couldn’t catch the rainbow. But he had! He had caught the rainbow!
He caught the rainbow and the rainbow caught him and somehow, somewhere in that bewildering mix he learned a lesson about self-love and how self-love allows one to more easily extend love to others, even to clouds and trees, to atmospheric conditions and to the many wonders of nature. Well, maybe not mosquitoes, but cow flops – okay.
Yes, Timmy caught the rainbow and though the pot of gold vanished, Timmy preferred to believe that it vanished right into his own big heart. He felt that even though no one else knew it, he was the richest boy on Earth.