“Salmon shield us from fear of death by showing us how to give of ourselves for things greater than ourselves.” - David James Duncan, My Story As Told By Water
Salmon remind me that we are the ancestors of tomorrow. Witnessing these fish give their bodies to fuel the future, I am given perspective. What I do or do not do today does matter. Every decision, a thread in the tapestry of tomorrow. The future created by those who live today, soon becomes a gift to our children -; their present. I hope they will know the gifts given by salmon, too.
You never know what lessons the river will teach you. Photographing a strong run of pink salmon, I wasn’t expecting to look over my shoulder and find myself face-to-face and fin-to-fin with a brilliant red sockeye salmon.
But there he was, a lone red amongst thousands of pink.
He weaved aimlessly through the bustling school, standing out quite remarkably. A while after, I witnessed the lone sockeye grow weak and drift like a fallen leaf to the river bottom. The algae-coated rocks became his final resting place as his body slowly began to lose its brilliant red, his emerald head faded to grey, and his golden eyes grew vacant of life.
Almost immediately, crayfish crawled from the dark spaces between the rocks to tug on the salmon’s lifeless fins. His body would not be wasted. Each day I returned to the river to witness his body become a part of multiple other creatures, and eventually, a part of the river itself.