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Coming home

Idaho is for spawning: a salmon place--where the last of the wild, baby Chinook and Sockeye salmon leave and come home as adults; defying with fishy persistence of our human label: the river of no return.

Alturas Lake

Redfish Lake Creek

And, I keep wondering why. Why does this salmon story stick with me? Why is it beautiful? Why do others care?  Most of all, why do the salmon come home?  What prompts them to stop, turn around and remember: I am a wild salmon. It is time. The next generation needs me and I must go?  And, they do! 900 miles upstream, up the River of No Return, without eating, past eight dams, through eight reservoirs, climbing 7,000 feet in elevation with one goal: TO SUCCEED. Succeed or die trying. Coming home to complete their life's work and knowing that they have done what they need to do to set the stage for the next journey.  A journey for generations that will go on and on and on.
The trap at Sawtooth Hatchery. Thousands of sockeye line up to take their turn.

The raceways.  What you cannot see are two opportunistic Osprey patiently circling for tonight's dinner.

You know, some humans do something similar. We also are drawn to place, driven by instinct, maybe willing to pursue at all odds.  We connect with this story when we recognize home, embrace it's authority and make our own sort of enigmatic sacrifices to get back. This is me.

Georgia O'Keefe said: “When I got to New Mexico that was mine. As soon as I saw it that was my country. I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It’s something that’s in the air, it’s different. The sky is different, the wind is different. I shouldn’t say too much about it because other people may be interested and I don’t want them interested.”

She says it so well--home fills us with inspiration, it fits us exactly.  We know it is ours.  The salmon know, too.