Standing in the rain watching the fish. If you do not move for a few moments the salmon seem to ignore you and begin crowding the shore in an attempt to get up the creek. The mass of fish fills the mouth of the stream as each attempts to take the barrier of the first cascade under the highway bridge.
Those that have already spawned, or for whom the effort proved too much litter the gravel bar beyond where we stand, dead fish at the end of their life cycle become the nourishment that will enable other life to flourish. The nutrients of the deep ocean delivered to a gravel bar in Alaska to feed ravens, eagles, bears and more.
In a scene lifted from innumerable nature films, a small creek jammed with fish. So many salmon fill the stream that it seems there is more fish than water. Large fish, some up to three feet long, scales and fins turning a dull green as they lose the silvery sheen of life. To see this spectacle in person lends an immediacy and an awe of nature that strikes deep in one’s thoughts. Here life completes the cycle, salmon coming to spawn after years at sea. Returning to the same stream that gave them birth.
Evolution is a powerful force, driven by the irresistible instinct to spawn the next generation, to reproduce so that the species might survive, Even if it means dying in the process. The species goes on in the eggs and sperm deposited in the stream bed.