"Each thing is of like form from everlasting and comes round again in its cycle."—Marcus Aurelius
Today my husband and I headed to Piper's Creek at Seattle's Carkeek Park to see the salmon spawn. There were dead salmon carcasses all along the creek bed. Only the strong few had made it to the end of the creek.
The salmon were returning, some of them after being out in the ocean thousands of miles from the creek, to their natal grounds. Salmon always return to where they were born to spawn and then they die.
Can you imagine making a trip thousands of miles back to your birth place only to leave your eggs and then DIE?
Now I know we humans are not salmon, but what a selfless act. I couldn't help but stare at the salmon still struggling in the water with the last ounce of energy they had trying to leap up the stream. They were shaking and struggling to make it just a few more feet.
Staring at them in the silvery, frigid creek made my heart open. I was rooting for them from a little mossy footbridge. They were determined to leave their eggs and even protect them until there was nothing left of them.
This made me think of the cycle of life—of birth and death. It made me think of how natural it is in nature, but how far humans have come from seeing how natural it is.
We celebrate birth and mourn death. We can't see the two as part of this amazing cycle—this force of life that is in every animate thing.
I no longer saw the separation of my life from that of the salmon's life. It made me want to LIVE and love with full force, but without attachment. It made me want to rejoice and honor all of life that is pulsating and vibrating all around me. I'm also ONE who is pulsating and vibrating and I'm also part of all that I see, taste, touch, smell, breathe. I'm also here experiencing and living. I want to do that fully. I believe I am.
I don't own anything or anyone—but what I do here can make a difference, I believe.
And for all the salmon lying there lifeless along the riverbed, I felt gratitude. They instinctually returned to where they were spawned so that the cycle of life could continue.
I too will die and life will continue. What I do here may not seem that significant, but every little thing I do, especially if it is with good intentions, can change the course of things for the better.
Do you believe what you do can make a difference in the world in which you live?