The Salmon are Leaping

Yesterday we walked down to the River Teign to watch the salmon returning to their traditional spawning waters, something we'd never seen before. The drama comes from their having to get past obstacles like this:

The photo doesn't really convey the height of the salmon-leap, nor the sheer weight of water pouring over it, but it's breathtaking to see the fish leaping out of such a torrent. It seems impossible that any make it up and over but somehow they do. Apparently they need the river to be in flood else they have nothing to swim against.

It was also rather wonderful to see how many people went just to witness this natural annual spectacle. In other cultures I suppose there'd be a festival of some kind, but here we did it the English way, sitting quietly without fuss or bother.

I've heard it said that in some American Indigenous cultures the salmon symbolises the need to return home to rejuvenate, a story I can quite relate to having come home to Devon for exactly that reason. In the Druid tradition, the salmon symbolises wisdom, that is to say intuitive wisdom rather than book-learning. But I think the salmon deserves recognition, and a toast, for its sheer bloody-minded determination, for persisting against the odds.


  1. How wonderful and so glad there are fish enough to see it.

  2. I've always loved the fact that the salmon NEED something to swim against - a bit like life, I guess, what shapes us are those things we push against. Wonderful that you witnessed this ancient homecoming.



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