After school, I cleaned my aquarium. I filled a small glass jar with water, then carefully transported each fish into their temporary home. It was a fantastic scenery- twenty-four multi-colored fish swarming tightly in a few ounces of water. Rather than continuing to scrub the tank, I marveled at my new creation. The fish splashed their vivid colors back and forth like a most beautiful painting. The neons darted up and down, the zebras swirled like a wild tornado, and the beta even flared his blue fins.
I had to share my experience. I bounced into the kitchen and displayed the colorful motion picture to my parents and their company. Everyone was talking and no one seemed to care about my fish. My father said nothing. Our company said nothing. My mother finally responded, “Yes, that’s pretty.” Everyone saw ‘fish in a jar.’ I saw an aquatic masterpiece.
As I carefully cradled the jar in my hands, the afternoon sun poured through the glass and reflected bright beams of red, gold and green from the metallic scales of the small sea creatures. The jar contained the secrets of the universe. It was an unwritten poem about the meaning of life. For that one brief moment, I actually held the origin of the cosmos in my arms. The tiny jar of fish and water encompassed the micro world of all knowledge, wonder, and imagination.
I put the thermostat from the aquarium into the jar so the fish would not get cold, then went to the store to buy milk and bread for mom. When I returned the water had gotten way too hot. All of the fish were floating on top.
And nobody saw the beauty I saw.
I will always remember holding the universe in my hands. Although difficult to understand, I gradually learned that any experience is not the same for everyone. Two persons can never share the same pair of eyes, and others do not always understand the joy that we try to share.
The important thing is that I was aware of a beautiful slice of time, and that is all that mattered.
I flushed the flaccid fish down the toilet.
This true story inspired a poem called The Blade of Grass: https://diamondwatson.com/2014/01/19/the-blade-of-grass/
By Diamond Mike Watson.
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