Monday, January 11, 2016

An Ode To Chile Rose

I have no doubt some of you will think I am off my rocker for writing this post.

And I am totally cool with that!

Anyone who has been over to my pad knows I tend to have at least one or two Betta Fish.  I think they are absolutely beautiful and I love having fresh plants, including Bamboo, thrive in their bowls.  I've always been fortunate to attract Betta Fish that have tons of personality, blow a lot of bubbles, follow my comings and goings and last a relatively long time.  (Shortest was 2 months *horrible!* and longest was over 3 years.)

I always mourn for a minute when one dies, because I respect that they were alive and I hope they enjoyed their journey.  I don't freak out and wear black for a year or anything, but I take the time out of my day to tell them I was happy to be a part of their short life.

This is NOT Chile Rose, but gives you a good idea of what he looked like!

Fast forward to Chile Rose. 

As you might guess by the name, Chile Rose was a red Betta with a lot of sass. 

The last few months have been a wild ride for this little dude of scales.

He suddenly looked like he was dying.  In my experience, when these little guys swell all weird and start swimming sideways, their days are numbered. 

My Mama was visiting and we decided to clean his already fresh water and get rid of a couple plants that were starting to look questionable.

What do you know!  Chile Rose was back to being fully sassy and healed inside of 48 hours.  A full fish turn around.  I'd never seen that before.

Last month, he got this super funky huge swollen eye thing and... you guessed it.  He started swimming sideways again.

OK, I thought... This is it.  There is no way in hell a Betta Fish can turn his little life around TWICE.  I'm pretty psycho about making sure they always have clean water and what not, so I was perplexed about this eye thing.  I decided it couldn't hurt to clean his water again and add some of his special tea tree oil goo AGAIN.  So I did that.  Then I did it again two days later.  On day four, that little bubble blowin' sassy pants was healed.  AGAIN!  What!?

Then a couple weeks ago, he just started to swim a little sideways.  I kept lighting a candle near him, telling him I was lighting it for either his good health or his swift passing and it was up to him to decide.

Yes, people, I KNOW I am talking about a Betta Fish here!  I hold all life precious...

Every day, for the last two weeks, I have gotten up in the morning and checked on him.  More times than not, he'd be floating damn near upside down and I would rub his belly with his bamboo plant roots and he'd start zooming all over his bowl and eat his breakfast.  I would tell him how amazing he was by fighting to stay alive!

This morning, I discovered sweet Chile Rose had indeed crossed over into his little fishie spirit land.  And it's totally OK.  He rocked it out far longer than I thought he was going to and I am glad he's no longer suffering!

I was reminded of a few things, during his last couple months here.

1.  We have to be careful of what we let take root in our lives.  Whether we are harboring ill thoughts towards ourselves or we've let someone else take that role, we can't let that plant take root and poison our water.  It can and will kill us.

2.  We are all worth fighting for.  All of us.  It's worth fighting for our fellow human and our own lives are always worth the fight.  If a teensy little nugget of a Betta Fish can fight the good fight and prove his desire to live, then what the hell is our excuse??

3.   Lastly, every single day counts.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Every breath, every moment, every relationship, every drop of rain and every ray of sun.  It all counts.  We are meant to live with our eyes open.

Sweet Little Chile Rose was a superstar Betta and it'll be a while before I have someone else inhabit his bowl.  He left some big fins to fill.


Michelle Tomlinson

From the naked branches to the grey sky to the sliver of a setting sun... Life is good.


  1. A peaceful swim home to Chile Rose.
    We only ever had one Beta, a gift, named Sam (Samuri Jack). I never felt like fish had personalities, but that little guy would occasionally show some awareness of the world around him. It was sad when he went.

  2. Maybe Sweet Little Chile Rose, Betta Superstar that is now swims the Stream of Live across the Cosmos keeping David Bowie company passing through everlasting light, the Labyrinth and Souls quest embraced by Eternal Love until Life Springs Anew...