Marking Time by the Sun

Sometimes life seems to move at the speed of snails blazing a trail through freezing molasses. It’s hard to see progress or movement or growth.

At times like that, I’m glad I’ve taken regular photographs of the aquarium in my writing office. They offer time-lapse evidence that life is moving, even when it seems to have stalled completely.

I set up the tank two years ago next weekend, and added my first corals a few weeks later. Among the first was an orange sun coral – a moderately difficult specimen that I fell in love with partly because of its difficult nature. At first the coral sat under its overhang, closed against the light (as this normally nocturnal species is known to do):

Over time, I trained it to open for feeding with the lights on:

As time progressed, the polyps grew and cloned off additional polyps, increasing the colony’s size.

Most surprising of all, the colony spawned planulae – tiny larval offspring genetically different from their parents, which (to my surprise and delight) established new colonies of their own.

During the last year, several of the new colonies have grown almost as large as the parent colony was when I brought it home. The one below has gone back to the fish store, where it has a special spot in the owner’s display tank.

Two more have grown up on the underside of a rock near the parent colony …

(That’s the parent colony center frame, and the two “children,” one large and the smaller one above and behind it in the upper right/center above the seahorse’s head.)

Yet another has become a favored seahorse hitch.

The point? Experience and growth aren’t something that happen when you’re watching. They happen slowly, with practice and care, with results measured in months and years, not moments.

Whether the subject is corals, people, writing, success, or dreams, the point is the same. It’s patience and perseverance that reaches the goal.

Something I recently realized after marking time by the sun.

2 thoughts on “Marking Time by the Sun

  • December 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    The polyps are just beautiful. They’re like fraggle rock, but pasta-like, but alien-like, but just amazing! I love the fishy posts. I’m always amazed by what lives underwater.

    • December 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Heather! They are definitely alien – little mouths with tentacles … the weirdest part is watching them grab food and shove it into their mouths. Until I saw it, they looked almost like flowers to me, but having seen them eat … alien is definitely the right word!

Comments are closed.