They called it The Great Flow. A huge, flowing river, too strong and powerful to enter without being swept away. Nobody knew from where it came. Nobody knew to where it went. But there it was, an ever present part of their lives. Stories of old told of how one or two people in days long distant had gone crazy and jumped into The Great Flow. It was said that a wonderful look of delight lit up their faces as they entered, before they were quickly swept away, never to be seen again.
One day a simple man who lived close to The Great Flow had an idea. He went to a hardware store and bought himself a spade and a shovel. Then he began to dig himself a large pit a a few meters away from the incessant torrent. For several days he dug, working well into the evening, until finally he was satisfied. With growing excitement, he then began to dig a channel to connect his pit with The Great Flow. For two more days he toiled until the moment of breakthrough came. His channel reached The Great Flow. First a trickle and then a more steady flow of diverted water began to fill his pit.
Without worrying about who might be watching he threw off his clothes and with a running jump he splashed into his new pool as the level rose gradually higher. The experience was ecstatic. The legends were true. He felt an immense sense of carefree lightness and effortless joy as he splashed the rising water all over himself. Nothing he had ever experienced had ever come close to this. He now felt as if the whole of his life he had just been waiting for this moment.
The water continued to rise and he continued to splash and to dance in ecstasy. Eventually, the water reached the top of the pit and began to spill over, seeping into the soil around it. Agonisingly, the man felt his feeling of joy waning. He willed it to stay but it was no use. Eventually he gave up and returned to his home where he went to bed, extremely disturbed, having tasted bliss and seen it disappear so quickly.
That night his sleep was light and his dreams tumultuous. When he woke in the morning, one word stood starkly in the forefront of his mind: FLOW.
Suddenly he understood and he stood upright, his fatigue from the night before leaving him. Close to his house lived a beautiful woman who he had always admired from a distance but had always been too shy to approach. He took up his shovel and spade and made his way to a patch of unowned land near her house. There he began digging once more. Days more passed. Occasionally he glimpsed her looking at what he was doing enquiringly. He continued his toil until once again a pit was complete. This time it was bigger than the first, almost twice the size. With a sense of great excitement once more, he began to dig the channel from the new pit to the old.
It was a scorching hot day as the channel neared completion. Finally he reached his original pool and the water once again began to flow. He raced along the channel to the other pit, where he waited for the water to start gradually filling it. As he waited, he noticed that his beautiful neighbour was sunbathing in her garden. As the water began to rise in the pit, once again he could not stop himself stripping off and jumping in. Once more the ecstasy overwhelmed him. His neighbour heard his elated cries and laughter and rushed over to see just what was going on.
"Come in, come in!" He urged her. Already wearing a bikini and sarong for sunbathing and baking in the heat, she did not need much encouragement. She quickly threw off her sarong and with a squeal, jumped into the gradually filling pool. Like her admirer before her, she was totally overcome by a sense of intense carefree lightness of being, as if every cell in her body had started to suddenly vibrate at a much higher frequency. It felt as if each cell was like a tiny ringing bell. A silent crescendo swept outward to the peripheries of her body. She looked into his eyes with wonder and could not stop herself embracing him. Together they danced and splashed and held each other and continued to gaze into each others eyes, wondering at the scintillating power that seemed to now be flowing both around and between them. He wanted it to last forever. "Please, please!" He said to himself in his head. "Don't let it stop this time."
The size of this pool meant it took a lot longer than before, but inevitably the water level reached the rim and it began to overflow, seeping into the soil around them once more. Once again the blissful feeling began to fade. She let go their embrace and looked at him. There was a sense of betrayal on her face, as if he had somehow deliberately deceived her.
He returned home crestfallen and once again faced a restless night full of troubled dreams. He could not get the magic of their connection out of his head. He had to get it back somehow. He would do whatever it took.
The next day he once again took up his spade and shovel and made his way to her house. He found another patch of barren land and once again began to dig. "Even bigger this time," he said to himself. "Even deeper this time." For days and days he toiled once more and the day came when once again they were able to join one another in immeasurable ecstasy.
Months later he looked out of his window to her house. He was exhausted, almost broken. Her house was surrounded by pools. Each new one he had dug was bigger and deeper than the previous. Now there was nowhere left to dig and even if there were, he did not have the energy any more. He hung onto the memory of the precious moments as a dim consolation for all the hope and the effort he had expended.
Then once again a word seemed to arrive loudly in his head from out of nowhere: FLOW.
His understanding was sudden and stark once more. He now clearly saw his mistake. He rushed round to her house to explain it to her. As he did so her disappointed eyes began to light up once more.
After taking a few weeks rest they both set out in different directions, each of them knocking on the doors of other neighbours, trying hard to convince them of their vision. Many doors were shut in their faces, but not all. And soon all around the neighbourhood pits began to be dug adjacent to houses. The two of them began to dig channels to these pits from the many pools which surrounded her house. More people went knocking on more doors. More doors were shut in more faces, but still more pits and channels were dug.
The day came when the water once again began to flow. As they entered one of their pools, this time the couple did so with a less frenzied excitement and none of the splashing. They lowered themselves in, drinking in the bliss with a deep serenity and looked into each other's eyes.
This time they knew they had all the time they needed. This time they knew the flow was not going to stop.
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