On invisible fish
I’m lucky enough to have a large pond in our garden; we’ve never had a pond before we moved here and I’m not sure I’d do without one now. There’s something deeply attractive aesthetically as well as environmentally about a pond; the two are intertwined as the pond brings a lot of wildlife into our sights. My heart sings (albeit briefly and its own rather quirky out-of-tune song) to see flocks of goldfinches coming to bathe, and the many other denizens of our garden coming to drink, bathe or possibly admire their own reflections.
And there are fish. We’ve put in several batches of goldfish, because they are beautiful and graceful and to me, a symbol of the soul. At the weekend, I was gifted with a bucket of fish from an old colleague whose mother’s pond had become too crowded. There were a dozen fish in the bucket, mostly golden ones, some with fan-tails swishing out behind them like gauzy scarves in a breeze, and as well as one lemony fish, there were two green fish. Identical in form to the golden ones, these two vanished like ghosts into the deep green waters; their colour makes them hard to see unless you know they are there. When we feed them, the green ones rise with the others and gobble up their pond sticks, before vanishing again. They are, to all intents and purposes, invisible.
But I know they are there and I keep an eye out for them, feeling something resembling joy when I spot one amid their flashier, more in-yer-face comrades. It’s made me think of those humans who have become invisible fishes; there, yet ignored mostly, because they lack the bright colours that are deemed essential to being noticed and admired. I think that as I age, I am becoming an invisible fish too, becoming unnoticed whether in so-called real life and in the virtual world too. Humans are drawn by the bright, the new, the shiny, and by bling; we look for innovation in our lives, and are driven to seek it by the unconscious pressures of the media, of our peers and of our own desires to be popular and up-to-date.
Yet the good old things, whether art, or literature, or music, or simply people do not go away because we turn away from them to chase the new and shiny things. Like the invisible fish in my pond, they remain themselves, unseen and unheeded perhaps, but still what they always were. You just need to know they are there so you can keep an eye out for them. I’ve often listed writers here whose work has dropped out of favour, or which has never hit the heights of popularity it deserves but I’d be interested if those who read this would like to share artists, writers, musicians and others whose work they love but who have become (or have always been) invisible fish.
A beautiful post, my lovely, not-quite-invisible friend. I SEE you, and it makes my heart sing too.
A lovely post, and brilliantly observed. Your request at the end brought to mind (I wonder why?!) David Karp, American writer and author of dystopian novel ‘One’, first published in 1953. I have an old orange / buff Penguin edition which I treasure. Thanks for this, Viv. I see you still. 🙂 x
Love your post! I’ll check out your earlier posts when I have time.
I was an ultra extrovert as a kid, but as I grew & became more artistically-inclined I turned into a solitude-loving, creative, chameleon. Twitter is the one place where I enjoy the company of other humans.. But there are times I do feel invisible there – when I’d prefer not to be. And certainly as a writer I feel invisible pretty much all of the time.
Wow. Your pond. What a lovely, peaceful place to commune with nature and the universe. Enjoy. :-}
So precious to be seen – and please know that I see you, too.
Who comes to mind is Alice Meynell, a writer recommended to me by a tutor at the Open University, where I did a course during a relaxed phase of motherhood in Somerset.. My book is an age-mottled memoir by Viola Meynell, her sister.
I agree. So much that has depth does not get the recognition that it deserves. I love sparrows, their colours and patterns are truly beautiful. But back to the point. You ask for artists that deserve to be seen: Have a look at the sculptor Paul Pibworth http://www.paulpibworth.co.uk/ or the sound artist Mike Challis http://www.mikechallis.com/wordpress/. Until recently I had never heard of either of these artists but that did not stop me being completely blown me away with their work!
I have visible fish. My goldfish have made some babies, I’m happy to say. My 14 froggies have gone down to 12, thanks to a watersnake that has entered the picture.
I value every author, and artist. I like them all, and cannot choose one over another!