I headed out on the ninth of October on a bad-weather day, first to meet up with friends and next, to drive early-morning to the Adam’s River, north west of Sorrento in British Columbia. Days have passed and I’ve been unable to sit down in order to write a post. I’ve asked myself, ‘Why the hesitation?’ To some degree, I feel like my words can never contain the powerful meaning this experience had for me. While the numbers of returning Sockeye did not match predictions at the time, given that 2018 is a ‘bumper’ year, it didn’t matter to me. I have spent half of my lifetime wanting to be a witness to this journey and with all that is impacting various species globally in the present, I jumped at the chance to go.
I wish to contain the archive of this experience on my blog. However, I will note right from the beginning, that there are no words for the experience of standing on rounded river stones and looking out to see the brilliant red backbones of so many fish, struggling against current, with an instinct that insists somehow that they must go home.
To begin…a short video.
On the evening before my firstborn’s wedding day, family members gathered in my studio…not all at once, but a few at a time. My brother Cliff owns and operates a salmon charter business out of Comox, British Columbia. His company is called Cliff’s Chinook Charters. More than anyone, he has taught me about salmon populations and what variables contribute to a healthy population.
My brother wrote a piece that he called, The Salmon’s Plight onto my studio wall. These words have been embedded in a few different paintings over the years since and every time I read them, I cry a little…for the memory of the salmon and for the memory of my brother. Given our family’s military history, we live in every part of our great nation. I miss my brother very much.
I was blessed to ride along with Cliff and catch a couple of fish with him, my father and my daughter. It goes down as one of the most beautiful times of my life.
Bad road conditions took us all the way to Lake Louise and then it seemed that the skies opened up and the mountains became crisp against a light grey sky. Gratefully, Pat shared oatmeal cookies that were so buttery that they melted in my mouth. After a stop in Golden to enjoy our packed lunch of turkey sandwiches and garden carrots, we were off, on the last leg of the journey.
We headed immediately for the Adam’s River Salmon run.
At this point, I’ve decided to post some photographs…if I write anything at all, it will be heartfelt. Years ago, having completed a 30 day Outward Bound course, I accepted myself as the artist in the group…that person who was taking in the sensory experiences, but not necessarily bound to the physical achievements and the orienteering. My head was in the clouds. Consistent to that, I was completely plugged in to this earthy, fishy, visual encounter with these amazing salmon during their upward surge.
I highly recommend CLICKING on some of the images of the salmon…they are just so absolutely beautiful…powerful…mesmerizing.
We stayed that night in a local Bed and Breakfast in Chase. I highly recommend the Sunny Shuswap B & B. This was breakfast!
We checked out and headed right back to the Adam’s River.
Poems to follow…I need to head out with Max. I am blessed for having had the opportunity to see the salmon run 2018. Grateful.