What we can learn from our surroundings

Many thoughts passed my head as I was taking a brisk walk on the waterfront. Then it occurred to me that my maze of thoughts was shadowing the pleasure of being in the outdoors. I took a deep breath and felt the surge of oxygen rushing into my brain. That did the trick.
The fresh air flushed out the negative thoughts and I began to enjoy what was around me. It was then I felt I needed to slow down, not only the train of my thoughts, but the speed in my legs. What inspired me was a flash of silver in the water. I stopped to look. It was gone seconds later. When I started to walk away, another silver streak in the rolling water just resurfaced. It was a fish with the sunlight reflecting the scales on its back.
Moments later, a school of fish floated close to the surface and sharp glimmers of silver moved gracefully across the water. Several hundred of them swam in well-coordinated movements to make patterns. It was as if they rehearsed many times. I looked at each fish and each one of them moved exactly the same way. It was a showcase of great discipline and superb organisation. How did they learn all that?
Sounds of chaos and random talk attracted my attention behind me. It was coming from a group of men who had nothing better to do in their spare time. I wish they could learn something from the little fish in the water. It was all about instinct, I guess.
People, unlike the fish, are so artificial and they have no depth of character in most of them. When I was tired of walking, I settled at a coffee shop and tried to absorb the surroundings but now in a sitting position.
However, I could not get the little display of the fish out of my mind. A few tables away, I noticed a very important person in the top hierarchy of the government sitting with friends. Obviously it was supposed to be a get-together with friends.
In such occasions, people enjoy each other’s companies. They relax and let themselves go. However, the senior official decided to put her bureaucratic mode. I was not within the earshot of their conversation but it showed in her body language. Her face was serious. I could see the wrinkles on her forehead that the makeup could not hide. Her body was stiff and she clenched both her hands.
It was not a happy occasion at all. She radiated hostility. There was no cheer in that table. Her lack of warmth made all her friends uncomfortable.
In contrast with other tables around them, their little get-together failed to lift them from what they were there for. People next to them had cheerful faces and I could hear occasional laughter as they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I was not surprised that in 20 minutes, it was all over for them. They left and I think none of them would want to repeat it.
I guess the feeling of importance deludes many people. It takes precedence in our lives. When seconds run towards minutes and hours roll into days, you see many opportunities have passed you by as years pile up on you. What you miss today, that moment may never come again.
My thoughts were interrupted when a man on a wheelchair came up on the ramp. He stopped to look around. He obviously wanted a table. It was a busy weekend and none was available.
He decided to roll down the ramp and stopped at the railings of the embankment. He was looking down at the water. I am sure he saw the same group of fish swimming happily together. The fish obviously displayed no hostility or did not demand attention from anyone. They were just enjoying the moment.

Saleh Al Shaibany