Salmon Memory

I dreamed last night that plenty of salmon have returned to fill all the coastal rivers from Alaska to central California. I could see their silver backs swimming up through rapids, leaping water falls, then scooting even up into shallow summer creeks that feed the bigger rivers. Salmon swimming through culvert pipes under the highways, salmon swimming in drainage ditches along the road sides. Some in deeper smoother waters swam so much swifter than those who had to jump their fat pink juicy bodies over rocks or over log jams in rivers. Everywhere they could go and still be connected with water they would go, an invasion of them like no one has ever seen. The power that drives them on to spawn up stream had suddenly increased, I supposed, and called many that had been hiding in the depths to come forth and spread.

I don’t know where my dreams come from, what gives them their shape. The ancient Greeks thought that many people live inside each of us, and at night, when we dream, they come out and go about the world, temporarily possessing a real life, until we awake and they must return to live inside of us. I ate a small piece of salmon the other night, breaking my regimentation of following a vegan diet. Maybe the wild parade of the salmon in my dream is somehow related to that? Memory of many salmon in the rivers when I was a little boy somehow got unlocked from my memory for an evening and could swim freely in places that are now dammed up. I wish I could have let them swim a little longer.

Otherwise, a cool-weather weekend of bundling up in sweat shirts and coats to ward off the next intrusion of fog and wind. I spent much of the last two days studying Friedrich Schleiermacher, nineteenth century German philosopher and theologian. As I get deeper into my sixties my interests continue to evolve. So many things I wanted to know or study in my earlier days gradually lost their significance for me, as I got spun around in the world of producing an income to raise a family. The nature of both physical and metaphysical reality has held my attention up to the point where I can no longer understand the specialized language and math, and so have looked for the bigger ideas in science and religion, rather than fiddling with the myriads of details, the 10,000 things of Lao Tzu.

Schleiermacher is one of those I’ve wanted to better understand because of his influence on New England transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau. You would think English literature majors would find better things to do with themselves…

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