Age of Aquarist

We spent the afternoon at Fords Theatre, where the President’s Box still holds watch, as it has for 152 years since that fateful night when President Lincoln lost his life to…political hate.   fullsizerender-13The theatre is, coincidentally, a few blocks from the Trump International Hotel, where protestors massed today for yet another cause: the immigration ban.  Rebellion is suddenly the order of the day, and comes as a shock to many who don’t remember the era of large- scale protests in our country.  Many of us who believed in traditional institutions feel like we don’t know where to turn, what to do.  We have to make the difficult choice to stay connected to the world or hide out, although the latter seems impossible in the echo chambers of social media.  Still, there is good in this new reality.  We are being moved to action in ways big and small.  We realize that past squabbles pale in comparison to the feast of problems before us.  Maybe Republicans and Democrats will finally come together in a new coalition to do not what’s expedient, but what’s right.  And, we will always have the power to control our own little worlds and freely send  signals outside, hopeful that someone will listen.

On that final note,  I have begun fulfilling my dream of establishing a saltwater aquarium.  I’ve actually had it a while, stored in a box until our recent move.  Now, finally, it is up and running.  Sort of.  I lost my copy of Saltwater Aquariums for Dummies in the move, so went to the pet store for a refresher course with a very patient salesman named Tony.  (I see Tony and I establishing an intimate relationship over the years, not  a romantic sense, but through my constant visits, nagging questions, and large purchases.)

I was amused to see signs assuring customers that the fish were raised in captivity, in case we feel guilt from watching Finding Nemo.  Yes, these fish think the world is small and rectangular, just like the early explorers, and it is fine with them. Another customer, someone I probably would have never met, struck up a conversation on algae.  It felt oddly satisfying to connect with two strangers– not over work or politics– just common interest.

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Think twice before involving children in decorating.

aquarium

Fill ‘er up.

The bucket brigade and alchemy are complete, and we are now waiting for it to clear, or show some sign of settling down.  I know that an aquarium or other hobby isn’t the solution to the ills in our lives.  Yet, when the world

is spinning too fast, it can help keep us grounded and focused.  Here, I am mayor of my own peaceful little ecosystem that recalls good times spent scuba diving and snorkeling.   It is not a particularly good endeavor for an anxious personality, as I have already inventoried everything that can go wrong:  Will the living sand and rock, full of good bacteria like the stuff our parents let us play in when we were young, die?  Worse, will I not know it?  Will my heater explode because I didn’t submerge it far enough?  How do you maintain perfect salinity when your water is always evaporating?   Will the inhabitants get along or eat each other?  Most importantly, who can we bribe, I mean trust enough, to take care of it if we go on vacation?   I don’t know the answers, but so far, it is a great distraction from the larger questions nipping at my heels.