The Pond

"Pink fish! Swim, swim," he remarks in a singsong voice behind me.

With my back turned to my child, I smile to myself at his innocent choosing of the wrong color to describe what he sees. "Orange fish - those are koi," I think to myself. But before I speak aloud my correction, I turn to glance at the fish resting at the bottom of the shallow pond. Peering into the water, I stop short. I look more closely.

Sunbeams play through strands of aquatic flora and algae, splaying in a cloudy rainbow of ripples. The fish are tricky to spot beneath the disturbed surface and many layers of light. When I focus fully on the fish, watercolor wisps against black, I realize that my child is right - at this point in time, from this perspective, they look undeniably pink.

When presented with a fresh insight that offends my former understanding, I too quickly decide I already know what is right or wrong about it without looking again. Even when I think I am holding an open posture, sometimes I notice I have decided what I am about to receive instead of gazing anew at a seemingly-familiar person, perspective, or circumstance. More often than I would like to admit, I shake my head and smile smugly, comfortable in my false security.

My boys offer countless daily opportunities to look again. In looking again, I realize I am actually not looking *again* - I am looking for the first time at a particular arrangement of elements and energies that have never been quite like this and will not ever repeat themselves exactly. Oak shows me that dump truck rumblings sound like thunder, and he isn't afraid to name the emotions I'm experiencing with initially intimidating but enlightning clarity. Ronin's eye color is ever-changing, some days the rich blue of a perfectly ripe blueberry, others a deep forest green, still others gray like the edge of a summer storm. Some mornings, I am aware enough to wake and honor my little ones as intimate strangers, containing multitudes, who I have a precious chance to meet.

What if we could greet every other this way:
I have never seen this YOU before.
What color are you?
What is your name?

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other"
doesn't make any sense."
-
umi (translated by Coleman Barks)

Noticing how I feel questioning what I believe I know - startled, anxious, afraid? surprised, delighted, awed? - brings me to the threshold of true attention. Practicing genuine presence helps me to see more clearly, which in turn leaves me humbler and kinder. Each moment becomes a treasure and challenge, glinting like a rose-gold scale in wet, green-black waters, mine to discover and allow to recalibrate my perspective as another tiny glimmer in the miasma of possibility.