Saturday, January 12, 2013

SRP Fish Round-up 2013: The Angels of Happy Dreams

May you be happy (the acrobat dancers of Flam Chen)

There's an ancient and honored legend passed down through the generations of bicycle bloggers, from father to daughter, right on down the line, about the fish in the Arizona Canal. These fish, the weed-eating amur catfish which keep the canals clean, must be taken care of, handled with utmost care and respect as they are moved about, particularly in the season of the canal dry-up and maintenance, for the amurs are the angels of our happy dreams. This is the legend of the Amur Dreamarang.

The swirling, dancing mass of amur dreamarangs

A dance for fish, and for dreams

If, so the legend goes, the people who remove the carp from the waters so that the canals can be cleaned handle the fish carefully, all who take part in the event will have happy dreams until the next fish round-up, seven years from now. But the legend adds one very important requirement: while the fish are being driven down the canal before the fences, and prior to being scooped from the water, there must be music, there must be dance. 

In this way, as the water shallows, and the fish begin to swim in tighter circles, converging together in swirling masses, exposed more and more to the air and sunlight, the sounds of music will float over the surface and calm them, while the happy vibrations of dancing people enter their dream-growing fish minds, where these vibrations are amplified by the convergence of water and air within the flowing calm fish, boomerang out all across the minds of those watching, then fly back to the swirling fish.

The dreamarang slips in and out of the subconscious of people for miles around, gathering up quick imprints of happy thoughts/memories/dreams, and then flies back to the amurs, where it will rest safely until the next round-up. If they are handled with care.

Sometimes, as we stumble down the path of life, frustration, anger, career burn-out, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, exhaustion, and the thousands of other challenges to happiness and equanimity work to trip us up. In extremis, they conspire to push out the happy dreams, and replace them with unease, dread, insomnia, enervation, darkness. 

But it makes all the difference if just the right angel happens along to set us back on course.

Fortunately, the angels are out there, and many of them showed up at the Scottsdale Fish Round-up: angels of music and dance, angels of public art, angels of happy dreams swimming in the canal. Thank you, Scottsdale Public Art, for an amazing event, and to all for taking care of the angels of happy dreams swimming in the canal.

Please let there be music. There must be dance.

This post brought to you by an early-morning Saturday bike ride along the Arizona Canal on a very cold morning. I think I like how it all turned out, and right after I hit the Publish button, I have some legends of happy dreams and cared-for fish to go pass on to my daughters.


  1. Guess I should pay more attention to events occurring. I do always worry about the fish, how many will survive.

    1. The amurs looked healthy and well-fed, and content in their cold water canal with ice floating around, which may have reminded them of their home.

  2. What a cool art/fish celebration. Thanks.

  3. Very cool. Even cooler if the workers in the hard hats dancing wasn't made up.

  4. It's always good to see a nice event like this combined with love and respect for animals.
    Great post!

  5. Still stumbling over here. I may need an extended canal ride, to seek out and converse with the amurs, to figure this out.


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