Once upon a time, a girl was born with a desire to know about the underneath. Underneath herself, underneath her life, underneath the whole world. But from the time she was very young, she was told that there was no such thing as underneath. To even pretend there was an underneath was madness. She was told.
When it came to the river where she lived, she was taught along with everyone else known to her, to stare at the surface, to watch the reflective, moving shimmer. And just like everyone else known to her, she was taught that this beautiful surface was all there was. It was the beginning and the end.
She loved the river and its beautiful surface. She learned everything she could about it. She learned so much that she assumed she knew everything there was to know about the river and that indeed maybe everyone was right. There was no underneath. This amazing shimmer was all there was or ever would be.
One day girl fell asleep on the banks of the river. The deeper her sleep went the farther she passed beyond the teachings she had been taught all her life and girl slipped into the knowing of her birth. She could see the shimmering surface and she could feel her longing to know the underneath. For a brief, suspended moment she thought she might die, as she intuitively fell into the river face first. Would she hit the surface? Would she cease to exist? Would everything end? Was she wrong? Would she be punished?
Girl had the strangest sensation. She slipped right through. Past the surface. All the way to the underneath.
She gasped and gulped in a bunch of water and sunk. It seemed like falling forever, but then, she landed softly on a silty bed. She looked up from her deep landing and could see the shimmershimmer of the surface farfar above her. What had she done?! Where was she? What was going on? Underneath, girl felt that she knew but was afraid to know what she knew. She worried that she should get back to the surface as soon as possible. This was madness. It did not shimmer in the underneath. Not in the same way. But still she looked around. She couldn’t help it. She was surprised to see that there was endless beauty all around her. It was like seeing everything at one time. The inside and the outside, the shimmer and the shadow, the surface and the depth, the top and the bottom and everything that connected everything in between. It was a whole world. Without end.
She saw rocks and recesses in this underneath world that corresponded to folds and fly ups she knew on the river’s surface. She saw greens and ambers, browns and deeper browns that corresponded to shadows and extra shimmery spots she knew on the surface. She saw fish swimming, plants rolling and floating on the current. She saw that the current did not originate on the surface. The surface was a reflection of something much deeper and stronger going on. The current began here below where it was deep and inclusive. It touched her entire body all at once. The current moved like a giant serpent here underneath. Different than the surface.
Looking up she saw the familiar beauty of the surface, but she realized that she did not always understand what was going on. Here in the underneath, she understood. She could see why the river moved the way it did, she could see why the river looked the way it did, she could see so much life teeming within the river that had been completely invisible to her before. She realized. She barely knew the river. Everything she thought she knew was really much more. More rich, more depth, more movement, more meaning, more knowing, more natural, more full, more life, more more.
Then on the brink of moremoremore, girl woke up, she was not underneath. She was right there on the bank. She looked over at the shimmer and she smiled. Then she laughed. Then she dove in face first while everyone she had known her entire life stood on the bank in shock.