upstream

October 8, 2020

Yesterday evening we went to watch the salmon making a metre-and-a-half jump over the Old Mill dam on their way upstream along the Humber River. The salmon run is the time when salmon which have migrated from the ocean, swim to the upper reaches of rivers to lay their eggs. What’s miraculous to me is that they use a sense known as magnetoreception to locate the general position of their natal river. Once “home,” they lay their eggs, and with the exception of Kelts, (repeat spawners) the salmon then die there. As I watched the fish fling themselves at the dam, putting in their very best effort against the gush of water, my human responses –– disappointment, sadness, frustration –– kicked in. Many of them didn’t make it over, despite their bold efforts, and most of them will die without making it home. And yet, for the salmon, c’est la vie. Fish are used to facing threat and adversity, it’s all they know; only the strongest, and luckiest reach their destination. This is nature. This is life. Perhaps, in some ways, we’re not so different to a Chinook. “I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges,” said Neil Armstrong. “It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul… we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.”

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