It is the eve of Election Day. Like so many others, I am anxious. I’d like to give my heart and brain a respite from their own constant buzzing. Brain, I say, chill out. Heart, stop thumpering so. Remember that you are full of hope, actually. Think about the least buzzy-est thing you can think of, and meditate on that. And stop rolling your eyes, and tightening your fists for a second, would you? Think of… hmmm… fish…?
Yes, think of those bright koi you saw last week at the St. Louis botanical gardens. Think of those fish, wimpling silently, brocading dark water. Whisper their names: Kumonryu, Nine Tattooed Dragons. Asagi, Spring Onion Color. Kikokuryu, Sparkle. Remember how their scales shimmered, how they glowed, mimicking the falling sycamore leaves. Think how brief the time is that a fish could hide among leaves; how brief any time is in the end. Remember how they came to you, a string of beacons, across the pond, to your very fingertips. And breathe again.
In Japanese, koi is a homophone–a word that is pronounced the same as another word, but has a different meaning–for love. Which I suppose is what I was talking about all along.
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculite patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
–Cormac McCarthy, final paragraph from The Road
Koi to the world. All the boys and girls. Koi to the fishes in the deep blue sea.
Koi to you and me…