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Birds, bees and estuaries

November 17th, 2004 · No Comments


What is more passionate than the life cycle of a salmon? After hatching in a stream, the fish enter an estuary where they make many physiological changes to adapt to salt water life. Once in the ocean salmon may migrate thousands of miles. Yet years later the fish return to their place of birth. They change from sleek and silver to red with humps and hooks. They migrate upwards, overcoming obstacles, and undergo another radical metamorphosis to mate and die in the same stream where they hatched. A cycle and a saga worthy of Shakespeare or Wagner.


This morning a friend of ours, an islander and fellow homeschooling mom, wanted to show us an estuary. In preparation, I explained to the girls a simple version of the life cycle. “They come back home to make baby salmon and die.” It all seems so romantic and passionate. Perfect and cyclical. I could almost envy the fish. Then again I’m glad that I didn’t die right after mating and that I get to stay alive and raise my children…even in the stream where I was born, so to speak…in the homeland of salmon and amidst wonders of the Northwest…

November is a bit late for salmon season, I discovered, and the stream we saw has not had many fish recently return. But it was a great adventure to walk along a trail and follow the water from ocean to estuary to stream.


No salmon were making their passionate journey. But there were birds and bees. Along the way we saw birds and a nest. There was a bee hive. And there was an estuary. And plenty of beauty. Enough to inspire passion, were the right person available and not in Las Vegas tonight…


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