I can’t say I have anything specific for this word, underground. Save for the phrase that popped into my head that I used as the title. A quick web search for “never found” yields images of the quote: “Lost time is never found.” Apparently Benjamin Franklin said it. Honestly I’d never encountered it before. The image I used was because I liked it. No other reason.
Keep scrolling in your web search and you find other bizarre photos someone somewhere identified with “never found”. O.J. Simpson, a random band, a sunken ship, head shots of missing persons, Buddha, even some Mayan ruins; most of these things I can trace back to the phrase with little trouble. Not many of them, though, feel quite right. They are either too obvious or too obscure. Another quote, from Thoreau stuck with me. “I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” This more closely aligns with what I think about when I think of the word “underground”.
It has taken a very long time for me to understand certain qualities I possess. Most of them were not selected willingly. They are either products of my genetic inheritance or my social environment. One of those qualities seems to come from neither of the aforementioned pools. It crosses over into a realm of metaphysics I often avoid discussing at all costs. This because it requires far too much explanation for those who have not studied it, and even more so because it invites harsh ridicule; particularly from several people that are close to me. Dismissed as “mumbo-jumbo”. (A term I’m not entirely sure is politically correct at this point.) This dialogue will be difficult without discussing it much further.
For the purpose of this exploration I’ll say that this quality requires me to seek solitude more often than most. Call it an introverted quality, call it a quiet time, call it whatever you like. However you can manage to frame it to your understanding. It wasn’t until just now that I realized calling it my underground is about as perfect a description as I can get. It is not a physical space, it’s not tangible. My underground is my protective realm I seek when I have no more energy to share with the world around me. As social beings some humans recharge themselves by being around other groups of people. Some, similar to me, recharge by spending time alone. It’s because we serve as batteries for others. It’s a natural balance of things and if you like you can dig around to relate it back to “real” physics or sociology or something of the sort.
But I’m hung up on this word, underground. It sounds mysterious. It makes me think of dark spaces and cool, damp air. It makes me think of a place of hiding and safety. Also it conjures up thoughts of removal, of covering up secrets. A place to store things to be kept until they are needed again. I suppose when I seek it out, in some manner I’m relying on my underground to serve in each of those roles. How fascinating it is to me there are people who don’t seem to need an underground of their own. Amazingly they need to be more “above ground”, to seek validation or recognition. To be approved of, noticed, the center of things in order to define themselves. That, to me, is exhausting, and usually why I go underground in the first place.
It’s a little funny to me that Franklin quote is related in some way. I’ve been told how I miss out when I choose not to be social. It’s usually the people that require energy from me, telling me that I’m missing out. When in fact what they need is not for me to come out and have a good time, but to supply them with spirit power of which they have no knowledge of needing. I don’t miss out on things. From my perspective, because I spend time in my underground, the world to me is much more valuable; each moment more meaningful and precious. It means I look at otherwise “normal” situations and perceive them in a way someone who regularly encounters them may not fully appreciate. What is normal to some, is spectacular, connected, interwoven to me. You’ll find me quiet, sitting to the side, listening and observing, taking in the conversation. Time, to me, Mr. Franklin, is never lost.
My braggadocious personality is subsiding, slowly but surely. I don’t like it, and I certainly don’t care for the way it can be misunderstood. The more time I spend in my underground the more that part of me will disappear. And, I’m okay with that. It will eventually cause those around me to assume I am on some kind of medication, or sunken fully into a depression. Really it will be because I’ve found my balance. I will have grown in such a way that no longer requires the roller-coaster of emotional spectrum. Because I’ve learned how to use my underground appropriately, I’ll have achieved something I’ve longed for since my earliest years. Inner peace.
In some way, now thinking on it, it’s sad to think there will one day be parts of me put underground, locked away, never found. I suppose I will always know where they are should a need for them arise. Maybe I’ll keep the door unlocked.