Sunday, September 1, 2013

Salmon runs, S-300s and "low-yield" nuclear cruise missiles

I may have spent too much time lately wondering what comes next if Syrians  use S-300 Russian missiles to successfully defend themselves against American warships or Israeli dolphin class submarines armed with "low yield" nuclear cruise missiles next week in the Eastern Mediterranean.

After visiting the unsurpassing presence of the "really big fir trees"  at the end of the Horseshoe Creek loop yesterday, I sat and watched the Salmon run fighting their way to the gravel beds of the north fork of Nooksack.  I am sure some people see their sacrifice as the ultimate act of dedication and faith; a kind of de-facto proof that life will preserve itself at all costs.  But I find that watching these small fish hurl themselves repeatedly into unforgiving stone and freezing rapids leaves me feeling both terrified and nihilistic. The fish gather in small crowded pools where their failed leaps have overcome them; there they rest and try again. Or perhaps they throw their bodies the wrong direction on the banks of the river, only to realize they need to slip back slowly into the glacial melt temperatures and gather their strength for another (probably futile) leap. It's not a moment that stirs me to believe in the wonder of intelligent life. It's a moment that somehow makes me remember the fifth act of Macbeth:

"...Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing. "

Perhaps Shakespeare had "low yield" cruise missiles and geo-political conflict in mind when he wrote Macbeth. More than likely, he had the chance to watch Atlantic salmon runs in Medieval England. Scotland apparently began passing legislation to preserve Salmon runs as early as the 14th century. What have you done lately to preserve the world for your children?