Essay: Chasing Salmon Shadows, June 2013. Steve Hurt

There was a shamanic secret being whispered in the wind this morning as the clouds rose up above the mountains and wet the earth with the scattered drops. It tasted like a magic spell that sighed… “remembrance”.

The spell coaxed a memory from the recesses of my unconscious, from way back before the burnings, to a time before the darkness fell over all humanity. It whispered between the resting moments of a warm breeze, spoke trance on the surface of a dancing autumn leaf in the parking lot, painted a fractal riddle across the ocean surface at sunrise. It was there in the clouds, you could read it if you were still, taste it on the inside of your stomach. I stood on the side of the highway witnessing it this morning. Maybe you saw me as you drove by and wondered why I was looking out over the ocean.

After watching the wind on the sea I drove down to my favorite part of the river. I wanted to see if they were still there, the Cape Salmon that had swum so far upstream from the ocean. I loved the sight because it reminded me of an old sufi poem. There I saw hundreds of them lying in the shallows by the low-water bridge, next to where all the morning traffic was rushing past. I spotted the feint signs of their presence, watched them dance on the surface with the wind as a cormorant zipped beneath the still surface hunting for klipvis.

I thought to myself: When you sit in nature and just watch the signs, it’s an act of partaking in something real. Most of the time we just dont recognize what’s real anymore, so we make up the world around us and get drawn into this crazy materialistic-consumerist dream. But there’s a realness in the simple act of being alive and just observing the world.

I know what was being whispered in the signs before dawn. I know that deep inside me is the memory of this thing that wants to be spoken. Its a part of who I am, an ancient part of my soul that was awakened ever since I first watched the fish kiss the water surface at sunset on the wetlands. Its at the core of every moment, a memory of my ancient nature soul. Its a memory that the Earth is what we are: humans, crafted from the body of Gaia, the living Goddess. We are made from her dust, birthed from her body, our breath is her breath, our mind is her mind. No separation exists between us and Her. She is the Beloved wrapped in form. We are the embodiment of her.

And so, with the sunrise and the fish, I remembered this secret.

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