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March 14, 2013: Poached Salmon

This morning, as I was checking the mail (we have a mail box in the community box set up), I looked down and saw a white plastic garbage bag at my feet. Being the good citizen that I am not, I bent over and picked up the bag, figuring that it was litter. As I grabbed it, a five pound frozen fish landed at my feet. Startled, I leapt backwards. I left the fish alone, but on the way home stopped and picked it up and tossed it in the truck bed. It was frozen solid.

Because I took it, and because it did not (in a manner of speaking) have my name on it, I was in essence, poaching. It did seem odd to me, the only thing that I’ve ever before poached was an egg.

I got home and removed the fish from the truck bed. It had no head. I named it Francis because this seemed like the right name for this fish. It’s a good thing to name a fish after a pope that’s just

named himself after a saint. But my having given this fish a name meant that I now was obligated to do something with it.

I put Francis under my left arm and introduced him/her to the horses by setting him/her on the ground. Raudi began pushing Francis around with her nose. Then Hrimmi came over and gave Francis a few sniffs. Signy then ambled over and checked out what Raudi and Hrimmi were doing. Signy said it was just a fish and then went back to eating hay from the day’s coveted place, the outer shelter. Raudi and Hrimmi quickly lost interest in the fish. The geldings had no interest in the proceedings at all.

I picked Francis up, put him/her under my right arm, and exited the pen. I then introduced this fish to the goats. Nope, neither gave the fish so much as a glance. I then took the fish up to the cabin (I was heading in that direction anyways), placed it on the ground, and called Rainbow and Jenna over. Both sniffed it, then walked away. They obviously had bigger fish to fry.

Quite obviously, the animals weren’t in any way invested in helping me dispose of Francis. So Francis is now in a bucket, on the front porch. I do not know what I’ll do with him or her. I did consider driving back down to the mail boxes and putting Francis back where I found him/her. But I decided against this because this would be moving backwards in time. Neither I nor this fish would benefit from this. It’s time to move on. I also considered going for a walk and tossing Francis under a tree. The problem is that the tree roots are right now all buried under snow. So for now, I’m stuck with the fish.

I was now left to wonder what I’m now wondering – do salmon have souls? I suspect that at one time, this salmon may have journeyed many hundreds of miles because this is what salmon do. They travel, but with great purpose. And that which does anything with purpose undoubtedly has a soul. I suspect that this salmon no longer has a soul, but it did once have a soul. The soul departed, post haste, when it was beheaded. (Yes, I did consider naming this fish John the Baptist, but finally I figured that this was too obvious a connection.)

What now remains is the body that housed the soul. If the body housed the soul, then it behooves us to treat animal bodies of all kinds in a caring and thoughtful manner. So say, if you kill a moose, you say thank you to it as you go to release its spirit. The same holds true if you kill a fish. Then you make sure that you dispose of its remains in a similar fashion.

I mention moose and salmon because these are Alaska delicacies. But the same holds true of the supposed lowliest of the low, the lowliest of the low cockroach. I was told that cockroaches are now being used in chemical warfare. It’s obviously not the cockroach that’s the lowliest of the low, but the person or people who do such things. Some humans, those who do such things, lack souls. I don’t know what becomes of them. After all, what happens to us after we die is and will remain one of life’s great mysteries.

The one who might have some idea as to what life after death is like is the new pope, that is, the other Francis. But then again, no because he like the rest of us is mortal. But rest assured, he will get a decent burial when the time comes.

I cannot now continue with this line of thought because what remains is conjecture. And conjecture is not the stuff that good prose is made of. Conjecture is billowy, like the clouds. There one minute, and gone the next. Like Francis, who has at least now been memorialized for an indefinite period of time.

This is why someone’s just dropping it off by the roadside, where any Tom, Dick, Harry, or Alys might pick it up, bothers me. This is most definitely indicative of a lack of a respect on the part of the leavee.

Next: 74. 3/15/13: Marching Along