Sometimes, a picture pops up on my screen saver that I had forgotten about. Today, this one showed up:
Bruised and battered from making its way to its birthplace-cum-spawning-grounds, this Chum Salmon looks kinda gnarly. But when the picture appeared on my screen it evoked vivid memories for me. It drew me back to the excitement of traipsing around the rainforest in rubber boots, of standing alone in a river, taking photos of salmon while keeping watch for grizzly bears.
It reminded me of mist clinging to the branches of old, old cedars, the sound of water, the gurgling call of Bald Eagles, the smell of rotting fish and the feel of damp rainforest air on my face. I recalled soaring trees draped with moss and lichen and the cries of gulls feeding on spawned-out salmon.
I remember the excitement that something amazing was happening right there – that very second- and I was in the very thick of it, with two soakers to prove it. The tracks of wolves and bears along the shore reminded me to stay vigilant and humble.
The pulse of a place like this is palpable. It scares the hell out of some people. Standing silently in a rainforest river, letting the place wash over me, is a visceral experience. It changes me in ways I like, but cannot articulate. It soothes me.
Today, when this photo randomly showed up on my screen, those sensations flooded back. Once again I was awash in the moist breath of the rainforest. My very consciousness shifted somehow. I felt the magic of just being alive.