Friday, September 7, 2012

The Futile Pursuit

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog post,
on a recent Sunday, my husband and I enjoyed discovering the hidden treasures
of the Association for Research and Enlightenment's Meditation Garden.
We entered the Garden by crossing a wide footbridge 
that arched over a shallow stream filled with koi and brilliant orange goldfish.

We followed informal winding paths that led us through
the Garden's flowers, trees, and shrubs.

And with plenty of benches tucked in here and there,
it would have been wise if we had sat quietly 
and realized nature's tranquility. 
But we didn't. We got side-tracked, 
caught up in the futile pursuit of trying to photograph
 two white and orange koi as they swam in the dark stream.

Bright orange fish stir the dark water:

Capturing their image seemed an easy enough task 
since the water was shallow
and the koi were visible near the surface.
But these two koi were very, very uncooperative. 
First here, then there, they moved as if they had wings.
And they were unwilling to hold still for even a second.
They were exceptionally talented at darting suddenly, 
changing directions instantaneously, and rippling the water.
We were repeatedly confounded in our attempts to catch their images.
Yet, we were determined to prevail, so we persisted.
Photo 1: blurry. Photo 2: out of focus.
Photo 5: so close. Photo 8: almost had it.

The larger koi moved downstream. We followed.
It swam under a small bridge; we hovered over the water
like two hungry egrets waiting for a chance at breakfast.
Photo 11... moved again.  Photo 12 ... fish, just hold still!

Somewhere around Photo 14, or maybe it was Photo 20,
we recognized the futility of our quest
and left the koi to their day.
Persistence is an admirable quality,
but sometimes it's better to accept things as they are.
As Reinhold Niebuhr's "Serenity Prayer" says,

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 
courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference. ...

The sun was rising and we still wanted to go hiking.
There was just one more thing to do at the ARE before we left.
Find out what it was tomorrow.

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