koi sonder

One day during a particularly windy bike ride, I stopped to catch my breath. Riding against the wind even if the terrain is flat can be hard. I watched the windy skies blowing the fluffy cirrus clouds away, and said aloud that it would be nice for some rain. The husband gave me that look he reserves for my references to eucalyptus, rain and all things Nilgiris. “You and your rain!”

But the universe has a strange way of granting wishes sometimes. A day or two later, the temperatures dipped, a cold spell gripped the area, and I sat up around midnight watching the rain pelt the windows. It was beautiful to watch in the warmth of our homes. I felt a blast of warm air from the air purifier in the room and sent a little note of gratitude for warmth and security when it must’ve been cold and wet outside. 

A few days ago, we had visited a quiet spot tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Bay Area freeways, and turned in past the almond farms into a quaint garden and farm. There, in the corner was a small koi pond with koi fish whose size looked magnified several times given the size of the pond itself. The fish swam towards where we were standing peering into the waters.

The curiosity of these creatures 🙂 If I knew Koi-polese, I could’ve translated. But I think they wanted to know more us: Who were these people who are peering at us? Would they be kind enough to feed us? 

I thought of Dr Dolittle:

These fish languages, they really only work underwater. It’s fascinating! The basic system is mouth movements and bubbles signals.

Dr Dolittle

For some reason, that night looking at the rain against our the windows, I thought of the koi fish peering out of the waters and contemplating the gathering clouds. How they would react to the gentle rains falling from the skies? Would their sea brethren feel the same way when they navigated the oceans? I remembered reading an article in the New York Times about how the fish used stars and starlight to navigate the oceans. Polar bears and many creatures do so too. How do they fare when the cloudy skies 🌌 obscure their vision?

“Did you know that an ant has more intelligence than a hippopotamus? And that a grasshopper, in relation to his size, has more power in his hind legs than a kangaroo. Absolutely, fascinating! There’s no doubt about it, animals are much more interesting than people.”

Dr Dolittle

There is a word that captured my fancy when I read it, for I have often felt that especially when traveling. (Grocery shopping in Afghanistan post) . 

sonder (the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own).

That night I felt that word with respect to all our fellow creatures. We have no Dr Dolittles among us to know the extent of our fellow creatures feelings. But we do know we have many creatures around us show feelings of warmth, love, clannishness and so forth. 

One thought on “koi sonder”

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