Thinking About Salmon

Did I ask enough questions or powertrip on the flow of the teacher?

They are guests, not students. Guiding here takes juggling an Alaskan awareness of natural systems, culture, good host questions, and knowing about how far glaciers recede into the ice field. It takes knowing whether salmon are triggered by a conception of time to come back or not. Do they feel out the magnetic signature of their hatched stream? Perceive a single drop of home water in a hundred gallon tank of unknown water? They push their silvery bodies against those small slices of home while strange molecules hug the rest of them.

“…learning to deviate from the teaching in order to connect, on personal level with the guest,” says the pamphlet. “Talk Amsterdam, talk salmon cycle, trigger a few wildflower distractions to come about. Question fidelity, god, and the habits of bears with tourists and tourists with bears. A clash of claws and a generous tip.”

Somehow keep the mouth moving. Paint portraits of the vivid ecological cycles in a big round-a-bout, vita est mort est vita, the death that provides life, the life that assumes death. You know, eventually. What of migratory birds and magnetism? What of our own homing instincts and unconscious desires? The salmon learn they can never truly come home and, to avoid wasting without purpose, decide to repopulate the stream – starved since the estuary, growing canines, shaping into monsters to enact the imperative to produce more. Keep the trees fed with their bodies and perpetuate.

         Life into vitamins, invited up the cypresses as Aesop Rock put it.

Against odds unbelievable, the salmon filter through the ocean on pleasure cruises to die at home, is it like an oven timer? Migrant birds, remember, have the same kind of instinct, but can they choose where to die? Do the salmon know they are phase changing for the very last time? Any other phase could have been a wasteful end, so here, maybe, the eggs are safe. “I did something to continue on after I’m gone to the soil and come back as energy to create a spruce cone.” It ripples out from the hooked jaw, ripples out from here, it ripples out, the new idea… I am supposing now that the salmon comes home excited to phase change once more.

“The artist complex. Oh I could fix that with duct tape. We’ll make you think there’s a chip in your head.” – snippets of overheard conversation between roommate and her sister in the kitchen as I edit this salmon ramble.

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