Words by Madeline Brink
Fish tales make up the bulk of our traditions. Here, under the sea, we live in a castle built by the sea dragon of the past. Our main companion is a mermaid.
Her story is wonderful, but is not ours to tell.
We, the fish, present to you one small fish of our school. Her name is Data. Data, please tell us what it is like to live the life of a fish.
“To be a fish is to swim without forgetting. Myth, the myth of humans, says we forget everything. This is quite not the case. We remember so much of the important things it is unnecessary for us to retain the mundane. I am here to tell you what it was like from the dawn of time. For, you see, to be a fish is to know.
We know. We know things you never knew you never knew. For me, being a fish is to constantly be in motion. Even when I sleep, I am still influenced by the commotion of the ocean. This never disturbs my memory; never causes me to distrust. Instead, the ebbs and flows of the water remind me of the rhythmic turns of history around every corner. Our beady eyes see less and less of what the human vision can receive, but our buoyant bodies feel every rotation of this planet. We float, we gaze, we relax, and we feel the swift turnings of the ocean water.
To be a fish is to know, without a doubt, the realities of our world. As this earth turns, the water follows on a relaxed beat. The globe rests in the glove of the ocean, turning itself without affecting the water.
Not all fish know this much about the world and how to explain it. My school gave me this task when I was born. As a fish, I trust in the collective whole of my group. Together, we avoid the threats of the open sea. In our massive whole, our giant reflective body, we drift. And we know. This is the way it has always been. Great whales speak volumes in long, mournful expressions of their needs. Their communication rests on a slower beat, the base to the flute. We hear them, and we answer them. Not with our bodies, not with our words, nor with our decisions. We answer in our hearts and in our minds.
This experience has always been. It is omnipresent. A truth emergent in chaos was conceived in water, vibrant in ripples, and attached to our fins.
This is what I, Data, share.”
And so we rest, with half of our lives in the subconscious, and our eyes open. We swim, together, harmoniously. And we know so much we can’t remember anything else.
This is all to cold heaviness, were it not for the way the sunlight tinkles off our scales. And we are glad you can see us.
Our hearts smile.