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Flying Fish and Lotus

Dreamed 1983/4/10 by Katherine Metcalf Nelson

Flying fish; dream-art by Katherine Metcalf Nelson. Click to enlarge.


Large stone steps lead to the entrance of a house made of hand-hewn logs.
A rough rock wall surrounds this simple, well-constructed fortress.
Behind the house are corrals for horses, a fruit orchard, and a
large vegetable garden. Traces of days lived close to seasons and
animals with a natural reverence for life.

Beyond the corral, I walk to a low bank overlooking a deep pool. Three times
I cast in a muddler minnow. I know a fish is there. Finally, I hook one very
gently on the lower lip. I pull it in, rest it on the ledge awhile, and return it
to the water. It is a very unusual fish, a hybrid carp and trout with bronze scales
on its body and delicate transparent fins that flutter like rainbow wings.
On its head, moving lumps make it seem to wrinkle its wise brow.
Its eyes are soft, deep brown.

With my children and my sister's children, I return to my grandmother's house
for the night. The boys sleep downstairs, the girls on the second floor.
I go up to the third floor. The housekeeper says to me, "lf you want to
practice yoga, this is a special quiet room, above it all."
I don't practice yoga, but I like the inner space.


Before retiring, I talk with my grandmother who looks younger than
I remember her. Since she is flying to India in the morning, she says,
"You can use the whole house." How extensively she has redone the interior.
It is fresh and colorful-new paint, floral paper, hand-painted beds and bureaus
in a moving sea of yellow, pale green, lavender, and blue.
Inside, this place feels like springtime in Frida Kahlo's bright, yellow kitchen.

Outside, I stand on a lakeshore in evening light with an artist/librarian friend.
We talk about the importance of higher education, not university degrees
but degrees of higher learning in life. She holds out a pink lotus, which she
places on the straw seat of a French provincial ladder-back chair.

Beyond the ladder, we watch a dark, bearded man who stands knee deep
in the lake. Balancing his energies, he stamps his feet and beats his chest,
splashing water over his naked body in a self-baptism ritual.
His face reminds me of a policeman-student I once taught,
who in midllfe switched from law enforcement to humanities.

Now he has something to teach me.

Across the lake, evening backlights the mountains with turquoise and rose.
The lotus glows salmon pink in the darkness.
Like the evening, it is edged in gold.

Lotus on a chair on a beach; dream-art by Katherine Metcalf Nelson.

Source: Katherine Metcalf Nelson's Night Fishing, 1997, p.61-62

LISTS AND LINKS: farms - hunting - fish - color - home - beaches - flowers - education or meditation? - swimming (if I had a list for baptism... but I don't) - Jungian dreams - pencil art - more Katherine Metcalf Nelson

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