A short story – Underneath

Underwater fantasies plague me. They find a way into my dreams, and the poetry of my daily life. I often wish I could run from them, but I end up reveling in their beauty, even the ones that include my drowning. They mirror my life. I am subsciously submerged. It is the aqueous world of slow movement, being unable to breath. Surrounded by that that is alien, I am an animal in water. I try to run, but I’m unable to. I try to breath and my lungs refuse. I wake up, but only partially.  My other half is still there, still submerged, always under. But what can I do but continue to walk, breathe, live. So I go about my daily tasks; with effort, my limbs strain against unknown tension, density. Maybe that’s it, that this world feels so dense. Ever since I lost the one I loved the world has morphed by scientific property in some unknown way.

I find myself sitting out in the desert sun on a hot day; my skin sweltering and sweating in its rays, my mind dwelling in that of a cool underwater palace. I am caught by thoughts of falling under, of circling and twisting through, almost running out of  breath, a hand coming in at the last minute to pull me to safety. It feels both silky and labored. It is the road I am walking on now.

The man at the local grocery store always greets me. He knows my name and I know his from the tag he wears at his breast. I was buying items for a new stir fry recipe. It called for watercress. As he typed in its number, he looked at me and said, “You know the ocean contains our greatest mysteries?” I nodded and he continued, “The thing about mysteries is they are both exciting, beautiful, and terrifying. They can be anything.” I could tell he was thinking of a memory. He was also dwelling somewhere deep within himself. He finished ringing up my items and wished me a good day.  I carried on my way, dragging my feet through the watery shallows of my mind.

I was feeling mysterious. As the grief had left my body, slowly and with effort, a cavern had filled with a substance of emotion I did not yet know. When I pictured it in my mind’s eye it was swirling dark, velvet black and blue; silver flecks sparkled, like stars throwing out light indiscriminately, almost madly. It was an impending constellation, rising from below.

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Superbloom Adventure

This spring California saw the largest desert superbloom in many, many years. It was as if the flowers blooming was the land sighing, released from the tight grip of drought. We traveled to the superbloom in Anza Borrego to share in that collective sigh.

The night before, we stayed at Key’s Creek Lavender Farm. It was gorgeous and we were treated with utmost hospitality. We went for a dip in the icey fresh pool and were spoiled with lavender infused-popcorn and a lawn-side film showing. They two people who ran the farm chatted with us as the Jungle Book began to skip later into the film. We talked about wealth, land, spirituality, aging. They also let us all pick out a crystal from their stash of beautiful rocks. We laughed a lot.

Also while in Center Valley, we met some of the locals. There’s a spiritual community nearby who runs an eatery serving food made from the farm’s fresh produce. They had gone to the superbloom the week before. When we spoke with them about it, one person said, “You have to have eyes to see.” This caught me off guard, and I took some time to decipher his words.

And when we arrived, I understood. It was beautiful, bright. But it wasn’t a thick blanket of brightly colored flowers coating the land. I think he was saying, you have to realize that it was all desert before. It was nothing, a wasteland. And now, it is dotted with flowers, who have pushed themselves out of the sand. There is no soil here. It is more than the flowers, it is a feat of nature that they thrive.

And isn’t that life. Against all odds in the universe, against the dark galaxies beyond, the harsh conditions of space, against something as simple as gravity, life has found a way. And so we live.

All photos by Jennifer Bobe.