Crane, Koi, Crowd

(c) 2013 David Borden
I found another crane past the Four Season's Hotel on Lady Bird Lake.  It stalked through the stagnant water, behind the footbridge, foraging in the muck.  I've always like cranes.  They're regal birds, the way they walk, long-legged, stretch and dip, glide and lope.  Then, they unfurl their wings, the tips outstretched like fingers and launch into the air.  I like to watch them glide low, over water, bank and soar. This one was a bit scraggly, probing the world below the scum for food.  Though its actions were mundane, it's beauty was sublime.

Later that day, at the Zilker Botanical Garden, I sat by the koi pond and drew this orange fellow.  The day being hot, the fish had gathered in the deepest, shadiest spots.  They hovered at the bottom, only their tails swagging slowly back and forth.  When children skipped along the rocks pointing and threatening to fall, the fish swam away.

I watched the crowd ebb and flow around the pond.  I was the only person who dallied.  Even these people, who came here and paid an entrance fee to commune with nature, were in a hurry to move on.  They traveled in tight packs that never slowed down, except on occasion to point at a koi or snap a photo on their iphones.  They talked loudly, sent text messages, corralled noisy children, and watched their step.  Why are they here, I wondered?  Why come here to this peaceful place if your objective is to bring your own crowd, your own noise?

I think a lot of people have forgotten how to be silent, how to sit and still one's mind.  We are afraid of the quiet places, we are afraid to let our mind's wander in a natural setting for it could lead to contemplation, or worse.  What idle thoughts might you think?  What kind of world might we create if we took the time to turn off the noise, the distractions, the chatter, and just listen to ourselves and the world around us?

#ZilkerPark #Austin #Texas #nature #sketch #koi #crane #botanicalgarden #pond #slow

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