I am grateful for the salmon run. It gives me a sense of place and continuity. I’ve been watching these animals come back every year since before our first kid was born. It’s a unique thing to this part of the world. It’s cyclical. It’s as big as birth, life, and death get. The fish I saw here today came from eggs that were laid here in 2010. I saw their parents that year. And parenting wise, it’s a bit of perspective, too. I feel like I sacrifice a lot for my kids, but these big, grownup fish who have had all kinds of freedom in a great big ocean, give it all up to swim hard upstream, in an environment that is fatally toxic for them, to fertilize and lay eggs in the same place they come from. After that long struggle, they finally expire and nourish the land with their bodies, never to meet the children for whom they’ve laid down their lives. It’s safe to say these creatures are giving it their all. I look forward to seeing their offspring all grown up in 2018, when my kids will be 4 years older, and, for that matter, I will be, too.
I am grateful for old friends. Not just my old friends, but Cooper’s. We brought a friend along to the salmon run that Cooper has known since he was 20 months old. In relative terms, Coop has known this buddy for over 70% of his life. That would be 30 years, if you used that same percentage for someone my age. They are hilarious together, and there’s a trust that comes with familiarity that’s hard to create any other way.
And I am grateful for the village it takes to raise a kid. It’s great to know a family well enough that we can receive and answer the call when they need to have someone take their kid for a few hours, and it’s great to happily take that same family up on an invitation to eat microwaved leftovers and homemade pizza after dropping their kid off afterward. Humanity works best when we help each other out. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it is too dang easy to get stuck looking inward. Often, the path of least resistance requires me to be more outgoing than I might initially think.