These Hands

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These hands
Are soaked in the blood of almost 50 years of salmon
Run after run
Season after season
They’ve cradled dying flesh
Removed mesh after mesh after mesh
And it’s a weird dichotomy
Taking the life of something you say you love
Not to ease pain
But for your own gain
And yes, we feed the world
And yes, we feed ourselves
But that matters not to this fish
Its journey home interrupted

These hands
Are soaked in the blood of almost 50 years of salmon
I feel like I should feel worse
Feel like I should feel remorse
But it is a life I enjoy
And the salmon are dying
Whether on the deck of my skiff
Or the bed of the river
Either way they nourish
Another generation will flourish
And I will always cherish
The life they provide

These hands
Are soaked in the blood of almost 50 years of salmon
May I never take them for granted
The salmon
Or these hands

These Are The Days

 

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Gssshhh. Gssshhh. Gssshhh.
The skiff rhythmically cuts through the water with a whisper.
The day is calm, the sea unbroken by waves,
A firmament of its own, reflecting the sun above.
And it feels so good to be back,
Skating atop the water rather than pushing through it.
These are the days.
How many do we get?
That number’s unforetold,
So we must soak up each one.

Gssshhhkkk! Gssshhhkkk! Gssshhhkkk!
The sound is harsher.
Our pace, slower,
As the hull slaps the sea.
We do not cut across the top of the water
But are engulfed by it,
Viewing the expanse from the crest of waves,
Then drenched in spray as the skiff hits each trough with force.
The surface of the Inlet is no longer a reflecting pond for the sun.
Instead, it is a sweeping flock of Neptune’s sheep
And you can almost hear them bleating in the whistle of the sou’wester.
These are the days.
How many do we get?
That number’s unforetold,
So, we must soak up each one.

Ocean Air And Freedom

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On the water I am awash in ocean air and freedom.
My world has expanded to the breadth of the Pacific,
Yet my sphere has shrunk to my four skiffmates and our neighbor setnetters.
It is a good thing to disengage occasionally.
Let the world spin without us for a time.
I’ve fished every season since I could walk.
This, above all, may be the thing that beckons me back to Cook Inlet’s shores each summer.
We could all benefit from forgetting the world, for a while.
Remembering us, for a while.
Immersed in ocean air.
And freedom. 

 

[Inspired by a friend’s wise words telling me to enjoy the ocean air and freedom.]