Oryoki

japanese-garden-brooklyn-fish

“Stay here forever,” said the little girl in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. We were in the Japanese Pavilion, leaning over the rail to watch the fish.

Cherry blossoms swirled like confetti in the dark water. “No,” said her father. “Gonna see more fish—” and he dragged her away from the ones she was already looking at: their shadowy bodies, their smiling mouths, their multicolored scales. Black and gold and pure albino white; cadmium yellow/charcoal; silver-blue-green-gray. The little girl protested, but her father didn’t listen. “More fish,” he said, as if more and different were always, unquestionably better. More fish. Again more fish.

Oryoki, the Japanese word for a begging bowl, means “just enough.” The Irish word go leor (anglicized as “galore”) also meant “sufficiency,” at least at first, sufficiency being a synonym for plenty. But over time, “plenty” has metastasized into “more than enough,” and finally into “too much.” There is nothing wrong with having “too much of a good thing” on a feast day, or for a celebration. But when one comes to take that “more” for granted, requiring excess on every ordinary day, then its celebratory aspect is destroyed.

“Stay here forever,” said the little girl. All she wanted was to watch the fish: to dissolve into that moment of enchantment.

~ Christian McEwen, “Slow is Beautiful.” From World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down


Photo: faungg’s photos with fish in Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Comments

  1. Slow is beautiful. I have enough. 💚 Oryoki

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The importance of the here and the now can never be overestimated. Yesterday, I went for a walk. Above the freshly ploughed fields, at least 40 hawks were circling, looking for mice which now had less cover. I stood there for five minutes, watching and enjoying. The next time you go for a walk, stop for a few minutes and just … notice.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Is this not one of the most important life lessons? Holding fast to the now, delighting in its sufficiency. And being humble enough to know that we are so damn lucky to be able to cherish our moments.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Mimi said it all. I love this post. Through the miracle of technology able to come back to it time after time, photo and all. Thanks David.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. WMS, WMS! That’s the crux of it all…to appreciate what you have and realize that it is enough IN THE MOMENT–therein lies the rub. And not for nothing, but the child gets it… 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Christie says:

    I like WMS // I believe that in a child’s world it is essential to have a sense of Serendipitous Wonder daily “dissolve into that moment of enchantment” We are so fortunate to have time in nature…// growing up I would peek through the white lattice fence behind the Rose of Sharon’s shrubs to gaze at the shallow, cement pond at the neighbors, to me and my siblings delight it was filled with Koi fish…always so sad when our ‘Mittens’ the cat would help himself to one of the beautiful Koi fish (he was a hunter he took down crows and I would cry and have a little talk with him about his behavior, often when two or three of us had him dressed in baby doll, thus a captive audience) // our daughter talks of our annual trip up the river to see the ‘Sturgeons’ and ‘Trout’ in their pool at the hatchery…so massive…the ‘Sturgeons’ like to rest near and under the foot bridge…my daughter and husband sometimes lay down on the foot bridge and extend their arms down into the water and pet the ‘Sturgeon’ oh the delighted glee…(ah such a pleasant interruption, I was just handed a partial bowl of very large plump organic blueberries, so delightful)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I grew up around sturgeon too. They are massive!

      Like

      • Christie says:

        I am so glad in my extended area ‘sturgeon’ are seen and education about them happens…I need to proof read a better in regards to ‘Mittens’ the cat had him dressed in baby doll ‘clothes’. I think some of the clothes were always regular baby sized clothes…he was huge…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. i love the word and it’s meaning and the little girl who understood it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Way to be! Oryoki rules!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. oh, really, like.

    Liked by 1 person

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