As I entered the part, I saw that there were high schol students doing some sort of school marathon. The runners in white and navy, cheerers in turquoise jackets yelling "がんばれ!" (Do your best!) At that time I was also thinking "がんばれ!" I passed them and made my way towards the shrine. It's been a while since I've been there so I accidentally took a side route and ended up in a beautifully manicured area with several spots that looked awesome to visit and play in. I want to go write and diffuse there.
Anyway, I got to the shrine. I still feel like some kind of intruder, I guess, but I went in anyway, bought a charm, hovered over the omamori (protective charms) and then went to the prayer area and tossed in 100￥. I felt awkward bowing or clapping, but I prayed briefly for help moving and for a liftanxiety. Even though it's not a Christian church, I somehow feel closer to my spirituality in one of these shrines. Something about being there feels more connected to the earth, to creation itself, and not as decorated and puffed up as many churches feel. These shrines try to be part of the world, not apart from it.
After that, I wandered out and washed my hands in the purifying water and decided to head back. I would have just walked out, but something drew me toward the red bridge. The phrase "passage over water" was in my mind because of an episode of Pottercast, and it popped out just then. I stepped to the center of the bridge and looked over the water on my right. A mass of mouth-gaping, writhing brown fish were directly below. My attention was immediately drawn to the huge, bright amber fish swimming right through the middle of the pond. That fish was beautiful, and it didn't come to the bridge like the other fish to fight and beg for food, but slowly made its own way through the pond, totally free from worry. I wanted to be like that fish--beautiful and noticeable as I make my way through the world, without relying on someone else to hand me what I need. I want to be a beacon from the bridge.
I noticed the turtles, then, piled on a rock, staring out at nothing, taking the time to bask in the sun as they perched, necks extended. "So there are turtles, too," I thought, wondering if there was any significance in that.
At that point, I felt like crossing to the left side of the bridg. Knowing what would be below, I gazed out over this smaller pond and noticed the tiney, electric orange fish fighting its way to the edge of the pond. I thought of my younger self, standing out as so different and yet so unable to change, fighting through the tiny, dark pond. Maybe that fish didn't realize there were other orange fish, or maybe it just hadn't found them yet.
At that point I began to walk away, when a second huge amber fish splashed. I barely saw it and raced back to the edge. It leapt from the water a second time, like a small topaz whale. It was like it wanted me to see it. There was no one else around.
I thought about going back the way I came, but then I remembered the "passage over water" and decided to continue my journey across the bridge. It was sort of like saying, "Okay, got it loud and clear. This is me accepting what you've given me," and I walked over the bridge.
As I left the park, I passed back by the high schoolers shouting "がんばれ!" and thought of all these kids running the marathon. Out there, someone must be shouting "がんばれ!" at me.