Silver School

Since my daughter was born we’ve been planning to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Chris and I had one of our very first dates there and enjoyed it a lot. So, the romantic memory and the joy we expected to see when we showed our little girl all the fished and let her pet the Manta Rays was something to look forward to.

We made some plans and invited my parents. Some grandparent time along with the octopus. It felt very complicated, but all the more of an adventure to pull all the people together to make this excursion.

Naturally, the day of the visit, I was therefore exhausted and spread out. Different people had different ideas of where to go, and the place was dark and where was everyone and when would I get a chance to see the things I wanted.

In one big room, while all the other people were pressed against the glass, I sat against the wall. This tank was huge, and I could see all the sea life above the heads of the gawkers.

There were big fish, one enormous turtle, and a swirling school of silver fish. The motion of the silver fish, so many individual fish swimming so gracefully in a curved circle.

Sometimes one of those fish would swim a different direction. At any given time, a few of the fish would be swimming totally against all the others. And some were stragglers to one side or another.

But taken on the whole, the wiggling sparking fish swam in a beautiful cohesion. They made patterns, shifting slightly and waving the broken circle into an oval, or the beginning of a spiral.

Mesmerizingly beautiful, they made an undulating fabric of individuals.



I had just because to believe I must move on and look for the rest of my family, to tear myself away from the peaceful blue fish


The flow was disturbed. I couldn’t see why but all the fish changed direction, leaping in one direction all together.

What happened? How jarring! and how synchronized even still.

The murmur said, Oh, the predator fish swam towards them.

Whatever it was, these fish all jumped away from that enemy fish. What told them to jump? One fish must have decided to get away and all the others followed, not even know why, just having a sense of danger and unease.

These fish were swimming peacefully, like quiet thoughts, round and round. The fish like thoughts, followed one another, next to each other, understanding the mood and the dance. This energy of together and safety was so evident.

Then, like an alarming thought, ONE fish leapt away and all the fish followed without even understanding.


The fish resumed their circle quickly. They settled into peace and grace so fast.

My thoughts don’t have that skill. If I start down a path, my fear thoughts could take a long time to settle down. And if I don’t remember the peace again, I could start a whole new pattern of fear and danger.

So fast. Without even thinking. Like the fish I could just away and start a habit of alarm.

The peace of the fabric of the graceful fish haunts me. It could be that easy. I could ride in harmony. I would love to learn.

Comments are closed.