This picture is from the yearly salmon run up here in the Cariboo, taken this past September. The annual return of the fishes is an event I have been lucky enough to witness for most of my life, and yet it never ceases to amaze me. In fact, as I get older (and wiser, perhaps?) I feel I am ever more blown away by the magnitude and mystery of what occurs both here, in this small piece of the universe, and in the entirety of the natural world.
Life is a wonder, is it not? Yes it is messy and unpredictable and painful, rife with drama and trauma and chaos, and yet if we are to stop briefly--even for just moments in each day--to halt our incessant march towards whatever it is we think we're set on accomplishing and really bathe in the mind-blowing reality of what surrounds and innervates us, our entire life can change.
Ah, the amazingness of it! I mean, really…how is it that we really came to be here, along with these countless (yet decreasing. sigh..) other species of organisms and bounty of environmental landscapes? What is the world made of and moving towards and borne from? What phenomena am I missing out on by focusing myopically on just my own simple existence when I am, surely, surrounded by an eternity of natural possibilities?
Sure, we can chalk everything that exists up to some random selection or process according to good ol' simple science, and yet….does that ever even begin to touch upon the magic that is truly present in this life? Can we not allow that perhaps science cannot explain everything, and in fact here falls so incredibly short of an accurate description of what really is happening all around us?
Because oh, god…the beauty! Tell me you are moved each day by something, will you? Tell me you devote some space in that fantastic and yet often highly misunderstood mind of yours to seeking connection with and increasing experiences of the beauty that you are, and that you may perceive? How is it that we can live here, on this phenomenal planet against what would seem all odds, and not save space in our hearts and attention to see and appreciate all that is around us? It is impossible to me, and yet look at us. Plodding along without care nor concern nor magic nor awe, blind to the wonders that call out for our love and attention and souls.
A salmon leaves the ocean after her adult life there and enters into a freshwater stream. At this point the entire biology of her body--respiration, digestion, elimination, the whole deal--changes entirely to accommodate this new environment. She stops eating, and begins the arduous journey upstream for days and weeks, somehow not disintegrating into nothing even while her body receives no nourishment. She arrives, exhausted yet determined, at the place of her birth, spending some moments before to dance with her mate and prepare her nest, and then lays her eggs before allowing her own spirit to pass on.
This is my church. I am moved, now and forever, by the perfection of this natural experience, and seek,with all of my heart, to see and increasingly understand how I might also fit within that system. I wish only that you might be moved so too.