When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water. Well, I've tried to express just that. If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirits.
For me, the natural world is always telling big stories about humongous scales of time. And I often feel simultaneously terrified and humbled by those scales and in awe, and delighted that I get to be here; that I'm lucky enough, that we are lucky enough to get experience these things for the tiny finger snap of time that we get to be on Earth.
Bishop on "At the Fishhouses"At the last minute, after I'd had a chance to do a little research in Cape Breton, I foundI'd said codfish scales once when it should have been herring scales. I hope theycorrected it all right.2Quite a few lines of "At the Fishhouses" came to me in a dream, and the scene- whichwas real enough, I'd recently been there-but the old man and the conversation, etc.,were all in a later dream
Growth seems to evolve from a narrow-minded, constricted worldview (selfish) to an ever-more-encompassing worldview (multiperspective caring). To put it simply, the more self-centered you are, the lower you tend to land on these scales, while the more perspectives you can entertain-the more empathy you can show and the better your ability to see things from a variety of viewpoints-the higher you land on these scales.
As deaths have accumulated I have begun to think of life and death as a set of balance scales. When one is young, the scale is heavily tipped toward the living. With the first death, the first consciousness of death, the counter scale begins to fall. Death by death, the scales shift weight until what was unthinkable becomes merely a matter of gravity and the fall into death becomes an easy step.
Alison Hawthorne Deming
When our intellect has shaken off its many opinions about created things, then the inner principle of truth appears clearly to it, providing it with a foundation of real knowledge and removing its former preconceptions as though removing scales from eyes, as happened in the case of St. Paul (cf. Acts 9:18). For an understanding of Scripture that does not go beyond the literal meaning, and a view of the sensible world that relies exclusively on sense perception, are indeed scales, blinding the soul's visionary faculty and preventing access to the pure Logos of truth.
Maximus the Confessor
Braith turned and saw three of her cousins sunning themselves on boulders. Like lizards. Lizards in human form. 'What are you doing?' Braith asked. 'Enjoying the suns, ' replied one. 'It gives our scales a lovely bright hue, ' said another. Braith blinked. 'Except you're all in your human form. So how does that help your scales?' They stared at her for several seconds before one stated, 'You're a bit of a know-it-all, aren't you?' 'How is that... ' Braith shook her head. She wouldn't go from arguing with one idiot to arguing with three.
Individual and team discipline ultimately come down to practicing a small set of principles over a long period of time. Success is not a matter of mastering subtle, sophisticated theory, but rather embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence. Said in yet another way, discipline is to an athlete what scales are to a musician. Mastering the scales is what allows the musician to perform music. Mastering the skills of self discipline is what enables a person to become an accomplished elite athlete.
It seems to me that there are three principal scales of time, the present moment, a human lifetime, and the eternal. The problem with modern man is not so much that he situates himself in the future of a human lifetime, since he fears death far too much to do that, but rather than he does not situate himself in any of these three scales of time. Instead, he is forever stuck somewhere in-between, this evening, tomorrow morning, next week, next Christmas, in five years' time. As a result, he has neither the joy of the present moment, nor the satisfied accomplishments of a human lifetime, nor the perspective and immortality of the eternal.