|Laings Beach, New Zealand|
I love quotations! On the day my daughter was born I started writing in a beautiful, cloth-bound journal the quotes that resonated with me or made me laugh or were relevant at certain times over the years. It is a chart of my life, my most treasured possession; the one thing I own that I'd save if the house was on fire.
But I don't put quotes only in the journal. I also stick them on the refrigerator door.
There is one there at the moment, a saying by the Dalai Lama:
Never Give Up
And there is a Japanese proverb on the fridge door too:
Fall down seven times; get up eight
I thought of those wise words on the weekend, when I saw them being practised. You see, we went away with friends to a beach house and on the last day we witnessed an amazing sight. Hundreds of gannets flew over the bay.
Usually gannets work in pairs, patrolling the skies up and down the beach, looking for fish. But hundreds arrived and the sky was white with them. While at a great height, they'd fold their wings tightly against their bodies, and plummet headlong into the sea. Sometimes they'd surface with a fish in their beaks; more often than not they wouldn't catch one.
But the thing that impressed me the most was that those birds persevered. Again and again they flew up high then plunged down, splashing into the water; not for ten minutes or half an hour, but for literally hours on end. We sat and watched them, spell-bound, as they put on a show of such persistent effort, the like of which I hadn't seen before.
The gannets didn't give up. They persevered. It was a lesson well-learnt for me, one I'll remember when the going gets tough.