Monday, July 14, 2008

Do you have what it takes to be a fish?

Recently, I shared a story about a small boy whose passion in life was to go fishing with his father. Many a Saturday mornings in the summer did they wake up early, load their car, and head to that perfect spot on the river that no one else knew about. The fish were always there resting in the deep pools along the banks. Within a few short hours, they would catch their limit. This was summer to this young boy. It was the one thing that he could depend upon. Unfortunately, while this boy was still a child, his father died. We do not know how or why. His childhood was difficult after that. His mother devastated and unable to give him the attention and security that he had once felt from his father.

Now what about those fish? A fish's life span isn't that long, in human terms. They erupt from tiny eggs and are immediately on their own. They only have their instinct to guide them. I think that for this very reason fish tend to live in schools. This feeling of community and belonging helps them to make decisions. After all, the computing power of a fishes brain is not that strong. Their goal in life is to eat. When they can and as much as they can. Second, is to spawn. This is a common drive among all living species. If it were not so, they would quickly become extinct. This desire to spawn is so strong and ingrained in some fish that they will travel to the site of their own birth to lay their eggs. Often times to their own personal endangerment and death. We should also mention the hazards that they face in daily life. Many animals (including larger fish) eat fish as a staple in their diet. So there is this constant fear of being snatched up from above the surface and made a meal of. Then there is the trickery. What you think is a floating worm, eggs, or a fly on the surface of the water is actually a trap. Humans have for as long as time is recorded enjoyed fish as a source of protein. I have to admit that I enjoy fish whether it be a well barbecued salmon steak or a delicately rolled slice of fish in a sushi roll. I don't know if I have what it takes to be a fish. At least not one that survives to spawn over several seasons.

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