Saving A Few Salmon

The rains had come inopportunely
to flood the river during peak migration
of salmon upstream to spawn. Routinely
each year the salmon pass by without consternation.

The flood had caused the river this year
to leave its banks and spill across the highway
and turn a pasture into a pond. It is clear
the torrent of turgid waters caused the fish to stray.

As waters receded, the elevated road became
a dam. Now hundreds upon hundreds of these
magnificent salmon are trapped – their fate the same.
An inch of water still covers the road. Salmon seize

this last chance to attempt to regain the river.
So mightily they struggle, splashing, zig-zagging
up the incline toward the road…but they never
succeed, instead slide back exhausted, gasping.

The pasture-side of the roadway is lined
with desperate salmon unable to fulfill their
rightful destiny. Along comes a young couple to find
their plight. Soon salmon are being carried to where

they can swim back to the river to resume
their journey. Laughing, getting wet, the two teens
are transporting wiggling fish after fish, ‘til they consume
the afternoon. A TV news crew arrives and asks mean-

spirited questions. ”Do you think your efforts are worthwhile?
You can’t save enough to matter.” The teenagers are a sight –
soaked to the bone, bedraggled, tired. But then the girl smiles.
“We’re doing what’s right! Because of it, I’ll sleep better tonight.”

Harry Edward Gilleland      10.09.02    printer friendly