A couple of good days, the sun beat down in waves and particles. I walked the boardwalk along the Russian River, looking for my husband on the water. All the men had the same waders, the same shirts, the same vests, and the same hats. Wrists flicked. Smiling faces turned with beards, already sweating in the morning sun. Geeze, I thought, maybe the differences are subtle. Eventually I found the one I live with, his arm weighted with two large sockeyes. I traded a cleaning board for his pole and watched the water while he filleted the salmon. Gulls circled, screeching, fighting for the leftovers.
In Lady Chatterly’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence wrote:
The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down to pretty few in most personal experience. There’s lots of good fish in the sea...maybe...but the vast masses seem to be mackerel or herring, and if you’re not mackerel or herring yourself, you are likely to find very few good fish in the sea.
I wonder what Lawrence had against mackerel and herring, they can be delightful in their own right, but I am also pleased with these salmon. We never really know what we’ve caught until we bring it home for dinner.
— Jessica Cherry, PhD, is a scientist, writer, and commercial airplane pilot living in Anchorage and Fairbanks.