Hook and Bullet

Written by Gritfish

Intent and celebration: 
The hunter and the angler will not be denied!
(Cannotbe denied).
The instinct is fresh and deeply rooted:
Only recently has mankind abandoned 
The nomadic hunter-gatherer way of life.
A brief moment ago in geotime 
I ambushed the woolly mammoth 
In the valley of the Tanana.
It was good work then.

President Theodore Roosevelt, 
An avid hunter,
Was an avid conservationist.
That was good work.

Hurrah and celebration: to be re-enjoined in nature's grand cycle!
"You cannot love the game and hate the predator"—Aldo Leopold
(The land is one organism)

Pacific Ocean

Gray through the sea mists, coastal mountains loom to the east.
And the tidal rip teems with candlefish.
Bonaparte gulls wheel and dive.
A common porpoise follows my boat.
A giant Pacific sunfish (huge jellyfish-eating pelagic plankton) drifts, 
With pectoral fin waving above the surface and unblinking eye turned skyward.
Near the horizon, an unidentified whale blows.

High Desert

Not until mid-morning does the sun climb high enough 
To shine between the cliffs of the high desert basalt canyon,
Warming the air and causing a furious hatch of large salmon flies.
The unlucky ones (these insects are almost as long as your thumb)
Fall from the overhanging alders into the stream
And are devoured by Deschutes redside trout.
The air is warm and smells of sage.

Alaskan Tundra

A browse line neatly demarcates the height that moose
Can reach to graze on the shrubby tundra trees 
That line the shores of the flat subarctic river.
Eagles are almost as common here as pigeons in a city.
You must be wary when brown bears might be around.  
Great herds of caribou migrate through here in the fall.
More than a million salmon move up this river every year.

Careful study of terrain, habitat, waters; the creatures and their behavior
Is required for success
And imbues an internal bond with the place.
One merges into it:

During summer's low water he studied the structure of the river—
The rocks and the boulders; the channels and rapids;
The holes and the tailouts; the possible lies:
Studied the migratory pathways
Of the steelhead trout and salmon,
Just as the original human inhabitants of the ecosystem had done.
In the winter he returned to the river to await the returning salmon, 
Where, by mental effort (meditation; deep concentration) he could 
Transport himself to the bottom of the river—
To the holding spot or narrow run 
And greet the fish with honor.
Sometimes, by telekinesis or by fish-man agreement he could 
Induce the fish to take his lure,
Just as the first people of that bioregion had done.
For this to continue, honor 
Had to be given to the quarry 
And to the natural process that supports them.
Now we speak of the science of ecology
But once ecology was intuitive.

The point is contact.  A kill does not have to be involved.
The point is catharsis and revitalization—
Release from stultification, dogma and 
The deadening confinement of artificial economies:

"In wildness is the preservation of the world.  Life consists of wildness.
The most alive is the wildest."  (Thoreau)

Native American grandmothers of Northwest tribes
Could charm a salmon to swim into their hoop nets;
The salmon's act was viewed as a sacred gift in the cycle of life:
Without such gifts Homo sapiens would not have survived.
But when a creature consents to be taken now 
It makes a desperate supplication:
O mankind, stop destroying wildness;
Respect and honor the web and process 
That perpetuates my life and all life on Earth! 

© 2002

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