How powerful to see salmon spawn; to know their importance; to reflect on their journey and the perfection of their lifecycle that holds together so much life.
Back they come from the sea to the rivers in which they were born, guided by forces we humans do not fully understand. Those that did not perish along the way (nourishing marine species) fight their way upstream but only once the river runs high enough.
More succumb along the way, the journey made all the more onerous when waters are too warm to supply sufficient oxygen.
Males fight to mate, genes invested in future generations in a way we humans cannot replicate with salmon enhancement. Then they die where they were born, following the pattern of thousands of salmon generations before them.
Through death they deliver the nutrients from the sea even hundreds of kilometres upstream to fuel the ecosystem in which their offspring will be born – feeding trees, bears, insects, rodents, song birds, deer, human cultures, etc. etc.
Through the death of the adults, the viruses, bacteria and parasites they carry will not be transmitted to their offspring. For that is Nature’s rule – that salmon smolts will not be in contact with adult salmon (a rule that is broken with open-net salmon farming).
To grasp the perfection and fragility of what has sustained this coast for so long, is to do better by our own future generations.
For the flow of salmon is . . . the flow of life.
All photos are of spawned Pink Salmon near Squamish; ©2019 Jackie Hildering.
Related blog with further detail on the importance of salmon, their lifecycle, how salmon feed trees (and other vegetation) and my attempts at a Seussian style poem is at “A World Without Salmon?” at this link.