Short Story by Ari Juniper.
I remember a time when I felt powerful, and the world, the universe, vibrated at my feet. I was a sunflower sprout, stretching, reaching toward the bright energy above, drawing me in magnetically. A natural pull that made me know I was growing tall.
It all began with a seed, a thought pushed into the dark and fed by the world. The little idea began to shake, tumble, like a snowball pushed down a hill by gravity, the little seed gained momentum as it grows, gathers nutrients from the soil, and explodes.
The first step is hardest, we want to test the water before we jump. What if it’s cold? Hesitations and justifications like stones weighing our feet to the ground. But the seed, as it’s nurtured, pushes its little head toward the sky, slowly unveiling the light. Then we jump.
Head first is best, we’re thrown into the chaos, sending ripples resounding around us. Waves rock our bodies as we gain balance. But we can’t stop here. We choose now to swim, or sink.
Engulfed in idea, we begin to transform our visions into reality. I push my arms into the water surrounding me In any direction, I pull myself closer toward somewhere new.
I move slowly at first, as I feel how the water surrounds my body and how to best move through it. I roll over onto my back, breathe air into my lungs, and float in peace, letting thoughts and waves rock me. My arm is a pinwheel and my cupped hand is submerged, and I am moved. Then my other arm follows lead and begins to act in patterns, thoughts guiding actions guiding thoughts. I slide gracefully over the surface.
I appreciate the sky and begin to wonder what lies below the surface. I have almost forgotten what it was like before the jump and remembering makes me see how far I have come. I flip, taking in air as I submerge my body, reaching my arms below me into the darkness. I pull, like a rope guiding me up a wall, and my eyes are adjusting to the lightless world below.
I come up for air, keeping my eyes open to take in the light. Small steps give introduction to the unfamiliar, and as I explore, I am not afraid, for fear will pull me back to the shore. The little sprout never feared, for the sun was always there, telling the sprout, “all you must do is reach, then rest, and you will grow tall.” And so the seed stretched and shivered as it inhaled the life from the light, and when the light had gone to teach others, she would rest, awaiting another lesson.
As the seed grew into stalk, she learned about leaves, from her ancestors who speak to her through her own body. She found the leaves helped her to grow faster and stronger and so she made many. And at the center was the bud, the flower waiting to bloom.
As I float, moving through the water, this new world begins to feel natural as my body discovers and learns to be one with the medium. I begin to realize that all along I knew how to move but I just needed to throw myself into the waves and remember to move to stay afloat. my ancestors taught me how to swim as I mimicked their fins and trained my lungs to hold my life.
I dive again and see a fish dive below me, shaking his tail and body to propel himself. I see his way of moving is effective and try new methods of movement, slowly discovering better ways. I practice movement and reflect on my progress, and then resurface to rest and breathe.
Breath to energy; photosynthesis to light. I begin to see how I am the seed, slowly reaching and becoming more than a seed, but a stalk, a trunk, leaves, petals and more seeds. As I grow, my thoughts grow and I am able to know that one day I will send these new seeds, grown from another seed, out into the world, scattered in the soil to be nurtured as I was.
As the sunflower opens herself to the light each morning, her bright eye follows her muse across the vast blue ocean above and she shines, they shine together. I reach forward, my body submerged and moving toward the other shore. I am thankful for land and rest. As I pull my body, emerge from the depths, water droplets cling to my skin like burrs, soaking into my pores. I may be moving on from this pond but the pond has become a part of me now, just as the earth and sun become and create the sunflower.
I am the seed, the sun, the swimmer, the sea. I am my ancestors, the ancient biological knowledge that pulses in my veins. I am this place, the land below and sky above that nurture my body and soul and are home. I am the fish that shows me the way, I am the rain that quenches my thirst as I grow. I am myself, I am you, I am the universe, the stars and sand and energy. I vibrate at your feet, I am the world, we are all the world. We are everything. So, jump!