Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Run run river

Sonnie and I drove to the Fish Hatcheries here in Brackendale, Squamish a couple of days ago and went on a stunning evening hike up to Brohm Lake. The light pixels created a kaleidescope of colours and shapes for my eyes that gave me a reverence for the ability to see. Have you ever just stood still in a high place with a view and taken a deep breath and... just... felt AMAZED? It is both an intoxicant and a sobering experience at the same time. It's no wonder the word light is in enlightened.

We came down from our hike and stood by the river to watch all the chum salmon swimming upstream with patient and unwavering determination to reach the nearby lake. A kind man who has been working at the Hatchery for years came down and spent half an hour teaching us about the fish. Those salmon were about 4 years old and had been born in the lake- their final destination. When they were old enough they ventured out into the ocean through the river we were standing by, and began a long journey towards Japan. They make it all the way back to this river by SMELL. They have the accuracy of smelling 1 part in 1 billion. They know what their birthplace smells like. So these fish make it all the way back here to have their fry. Once they enter the freshwater on their way home they stop eating and live only on their own fat. They labour for a few weeks to dig up a clean space in the river bottom and drop their eggs. The eggs get fertilized and stay under the wet earth for a few months before they break out of tiny vessels. When the babies are born most of their parents will be dead.
I don't know why, but I was really touched by this. Watching the fish battle up the running river I was amazed by their beauty and intelligence. By the acuteness of their senses. Somehow I felt like I could relate to them. I don't know how or why, but maybe because I saw them as beings instead of fish. I also felt humbled. I had just been marveling at my own senses and suddenly they felt dim and vacuous in comparison. I wondered if they could speak now what they would say about their life... it is no wonder so many indigenous tribes told stories (and still do) of animals who spoke and understood... who were gods and friends.
And there is the circle again. The cycle. The rhythm of the universe.
When we close our eyes, we can actually FEEL this with every inhale and exhale. One cycle. One circle. Onc birth and death. One generation.... organization...destruction. (Acronym for something in there somewhere?)
Sometimes I feel like I am seeing and understanding the same thing over and over again in many different ways.
Do you?

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