Dragon Carp

Ohara Koson (Shoson),(1877 - 1945) - Leaping Carp

Natasha used all her strength to swim through the deep blue clear waters surrounded by mountains that sat guarding the lake like sleeping giants.  She focused her mind on reaching the jetty, instead of the questions that were racing around her head.  The bold, brave girl that she knew, was struggling to stay out in the sun.  She had swum away from the noise and bustle as that had only exacerbated her busy mind, past Villa Pondala. It had a little, empty sandy beach with  oak trees strategically scattered across the lawn hiding everything that could be happening inside, so that those that swam by, felt inclined to peek a little more closely, as if the very presence of the trees themselves were asking onlookers to look within.  Suddenly, Natasha remembered her grandma`s house. Long, hot summer days that stretched out into oblivion.  As she swam past an ornate wall leading to a neighbouring villa, she remembered her grandma`s walled garden with a blooming rockery and the thick woolen blanket that she had laid upon on the freshly mowed lawn.  Bright yellow Rapseed fields spread for miles to see and brought tiny black thunder flies that would stick to her surprise to her bright yellow t-shirt.  She would run upstairs to her grandma`s bathroom that always smelt of lavender talcum powder and hastily take off her t-shirt as yellow as the Rapseed field. 
         Natasha looked down at her fingers sprawling out in front of her in the clear water and at her grandma`s rings upon her fingers that she now wore everyday so as to remind her of what a strong and capable woman she was, a legacy that permeated into Natasha`s soul.
“Be Strong.  Keep going” Natasha whispered to herself, her eyes on the jetty far ahead of her. 
         A sailing boat glided by.  You wanted to go sailing remember? Natasha thought to herself, suddenly remembering her dropped desire like a forgotten childhood memory. 
        Perhaps it was a good thing that she hadn`t seen him, Natasha thought.  shaking her head as she swam. I only loose myself.  Like a hall of mirrors. Perhaps that is the lesson, Natasha thought as she reached the steps and confidently climbed out of the crystal waters, striding past a woman lazily lounging upon cream cushions with her perfectly painted matching blue nail varnish, perhaps I am not loosing anything at all, Natasha thought, but actually finding myself again in a seeming loss.
    Natasha sat upon the clean, light wooden jetty and overheard some plumy English accents, she looked at two girls with wet tied back blonde hair in matching red bikinis chatting with each other whilst looking out to the lake and mountains. "My dad has this house over in Italy, but he wants to sell it so that we can get an extension on the lake house" Natasha overheard. 
       She looked back down into the clear water and saw a large carp swim up to the surface, almost as if he was coming to greet her. "Hi there" Natasha slid herself off a little to dip her toe in the water as a greeting. Upon this, several more carp appeared and swam beneath her feet in circular motions.  Natasha wondered if they just wanted food, but they didn`t seem to leave so she dipped her toe into the water once more and one of the smaller carp actually jumped out of the water with what looked like glee. Natasha laughed surprised and looked around her to see if anyone else was experiencing this joy.  Instead she saw a girl with a dropped jaw of privileged apathy listening to her boyfriend boast about something or other loudly. Natasha turned away from the neatly arranged, immaculate cushioned sunbeds back to the small school of carp below her feet swimming in out between each other in the clear waters.
       Natasha remembered from Japan that carp was a symbol of courage, perseverance and good fortune.  In Chinese legend the carp swims past many obstacles to finally reach the dragon gate at the top of the mountain where after overcoming a journey of struggle, the carp changes into a Dragon, one of the most revered animal in Chinese culture.  At this Natasha jumped in the sunlit waters scattering the carp around her and swum out into the mountain lake waters, continuing her journey stronger and more determined than before.