"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Countdown to Halloween - One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

According to Tsimshian legend (an indigenous tribe of the Pacific Northwest coast), Salmon were originally Salmon People. What is it with these Pacific Northwest legends anyway? I mean, Stick People and Salmon People? What's next, Peanut People? (Ohhhhhh! I sure hope so!) Anyhow, the legend goes that the Salmon People were living in five villages. The five species of Salmon represented the five villages - the Iyai (Spring Salmon), the Mesaw (Sockeye) the Werh (Coho), the Stemawn (Pink), and the Qanees (Dog Salmon). In the spring, they changed into their fishy forms and started their journey, each group at a different time.

You see, Salmon were a major food source for Pacific Northwest peoples, much like Peanuts for goats. As such, there are really quite a few legends amongst the tribes featuring Salmon in starring roles. One legend has it that the Salmon People lived in beautiful cities below the ocean and chose to come back every year in the form of fish to feed the people on land. Again, much like the humble Peanut, which spends most of its life below the earth's surface, only to emerge (maybe on Halloween night like the Great Pumpkin) in hopes of nourishing thousands of adorable, but starving, goats. That's pretty darned noble , if you ask me.

But I digress yet again. (Who, me?) Anyway, every year around mid-October, the Coho Salmon make their way up the Sol Duc river to the place they were hatched. Actually it is a pretty magnificent site watching fish risk tail and fin in order to make it back upstream against horrendous odds. Just the heights these guys tackle to get where they are going, not to mention going against the tremendous power of an authoritarian river's constant bombardment, is a feat of Olympian proportions. I can tell you that no goat would even think twice about such an endeavor (well, unless upstream there happened to be the most ginormous stockpile of
Peanuts ever in the history of the world.) Even Michael Phelps wouldn't go there.

At any rate, below is video taken by the goatfather when he and the goatmother went to watch this yearly miracle in action.


Okay, it isn't very spooky, but sometimes in life you just have to stand back in awe of Mother Nature whenever she chooses to touch your life. As for the Salmon, well, "Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." - Orison Swett Marden
Mazal tov!, Salmon. Mazal tov!!!


Marigold said...

Dear Readers,
I apologize in advance for the quality of the video. It is not a product of the goatfather's skill, but rather Bloggers download of the video. It used to be 'light' and not have strange pixelations showing. Perhaps this is an effect of outraged Stick Persons. Look closely, though, and you should be able to see the fish.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I loved watching the salmon trying oh-so-hard to get back to their birth place. And thanks for the stories, too.

Now I'll have to go read more on your blog. Your "photo" caught my eye while reading Danni's blog. My daughter has acquired three goats recently . . . so anything with the word "goat" or a picture of a goat, naturally sparks my curiosity.