The Salmon are Running

Ucluelet, BC is a major fishing community, and fisherman has descended from all over the world to benefit from the salmon that are running. I met a fisherman named Dave who was just coming off of his boat after having been at sea for 3 weeks. He said that the times are changing and the fish are smaller and there are fewer of them. This is a concern for all environmentalists and the truth has been understood by the men and women who make a living off of the sea for quite some time now. He was very friendly, good-natured and seemed starved to talk to another human being. Both Michael and I listened to his tales with genuine interest and concern. We talked of the fires inland where he lived, and of the catches out at sea which is becoming less and less profitable.

When we were finished talking to Dave, we walked around the Marina and marveled at all the fishing boats- real fishing boats that look like they had been through some pretty rough seas. These aren’t charter boats taking tourists out for an afternoon of fun and games, these boats are the real deal and they look it. The fisherman that fish these waters do it for a living. They are a hardy international group that understands the tides and the dangers of being out on the ocean. A Finnish man came up to Michael and me with 3 other characters that were so open and friendly and in need of a new person to share stories with, that it gave me pause to consider the world that is made up of countries and borders and walls to keep out others!”

Looking around, I realized that the marine layer had come in and the temperature dropped down into the middle 50’s. Quite a difference from the 80’s in Genoa Bay, with its acrid smoke being exchanged for soothing fog. Canada has over 100 fires burning out of control as I write. It has been the worst fire season in recorded history. The visibility was greatly reduced from Victoria almost to where we pulled into the campground. But here up-island, the fog is very dense and misty, which helps to contribute to the sense that you are in another biosphere, one that is governed by nature and water, land, the sun and the moon.

The fisherman knows this side of nature much more than the person who buys the fish in a package, precut and on a shelf. Dave knew that the salmon were running and were headed toward the Columbia Gorge. These fish all have predestined routes and are compelled to follow them home to where they were born. Returning to the place that they were born is paramount to completing their purpose on this beautiful planet. I looked up and was startled by the raucous sound of several seagulls harassing a bald eagle who had landed on one of the boat masts. Even though he was much larger and had a magnificent wingspan, he was being forced to vacate his coveted fishing perch by the smaller but much more tenacious gulls. Such is the way of nature!

We then decided to walk toward another, much smaller dock off to the side that was jutting out into open waters. I was saddened to read that this other dock had once been used by 60 Japanese families who were forced to leave everything behind after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They were given 3-4 days notice and I didn’t realize that Canada too had turned on Japanese families living in their country. Pearl Harbor was a horrible act of terrorism and
it was the catalyst to starting WWII. But innocent families lost everything they had worked so hard for and history has shown that these forced removals were not necessary to the safety of its Canadian and American neighbors. Canada seems to have learned her lesson…..

Life can be so difficult for immigrants that are just trying to eek out a living for themselves and their families. I hope that American people continue to stand up to the racist attitude of the Trump administration and embrace what America once stood for. Open up your arms and welcome people fleeing from persecution, poverty, war and climate change. We can do better and should keep fighting for justice for all people who are willing to work hard and contribute to society. We have evolved beings and as such, should behave worthy of the intelligence that has been bestowed upon us. Let us be sentinels to this planet and respect Mother Nature in order to contribute to the sustainable survival of all.

I also must mention my awareness of the native people displaced by Europeans… I can’t bring up every slight in this article and this topic will have to wait for another day.

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