The Spirit of Salmon’s Lament
We were so many once.
The sea itself would churn with the wake of our endless schools.
When we turned, in our great gyres, the head of the school
Would be half way down to Kodiak while our tail would still be deep in Siberian
Waters, pecked at by Aleut hunters brave enough to pursue us in flimsy skin boats.
From frigid Kamchatka to the balmy southern coasts, we were known as
The Providers, who guaranteed meat to bear and eagle, and raven and human
And a multitude of others. When we entered the rivers, compelled by the sacred, fatal
urgings of our loins, a huge wave preceded us to let the hunters know we were coming.
The rivers swelled and the fishermen roared with glee at our spirit churning the
Water to foam. We were royalty visiting from a larger, more exotic realm, charging
Each valley from Siberia to Point Conception with the power of the deep, and
The exaltation of purest sex. And when that was over, our carcasses sent to the
Peaks a stench that sickened even the skunk people but spoke of oceanic riches
Being returned to the rivers, and the land, to put spine in the green growth and
Recharge the cycle of life. We were the mortar and thong that bound river and ocean,
Land and sea. We were the Lifebringers.
And now, the animals who ate us have almost forgotten our taste.
Only the oldest humans can remember the last of our glory. This cursed age
When all of nature, is made so small, so diminished. When all that stand
Of size or greatness or is so tiny and fine as to go unnoticed, is punished for its
Very existence by losing it. Oh how has the world been so reduced?
We, the salmon people are few now in so many places where we were once a
multitude. What was glorious is now furtive and quick, no longer a din filled with
the thundering Power of creation.
We seem a tattered remnant.The barren shadow of a once brilliant shimmering.
Why? Is it humans? They were part of the scheme once, native to
The land, brave and humble players. What is this curse we all suffer through
Them? Why must it be so? Do our people have to go down to dim perdition
Never to show our brilliant silver sides to any eyes anywhere in the universe?
Will not even the humans lament our passing?