Saturday, January 12, 2013

Frozen Fish

At 6:30 a.m. MST the outside temperature on our back porch in San Tan Valley, Arizona, was 26 degrees. 

Did you see that? T-w-e-n-t-y-s-i-x.  I haven’t seen twenty-six in twenty-eight years.  Never mind doing the math—it’s none of your business how old I am.
At 10:30 a.m. MST it was 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and at 3:00 p.m. we reached a record low high of 44.  F-o-r-t-y-f-o-u-r.  And that is the reason my sweetie and I sat on the sofa like frozen slugs on this frigid day, watching documentaries on TV about Alaska.
It made us feel warmer.
I learned about moose (mise?), glaciers, and brain dead adventurers who think it’s fun to risk life and limb on a little seven-mile stroll up frozen Mt. Denali.  I found out mises grow brand new antlers once a year and promptly tear them up fighting other male moose for a date with a female only Bullwinkle could love. 

No brain cells there, either. 

I learned that glaciers have fissures and it’s more important to watch where you walk there than it is in a cow pasture.  And I learned that I am blessed to detest the word ‘adventure' because at least it means I didn’t die today on Denali.
So here I sat, hidden under piles of blankets—held captive to the remote controlled by my husband—watching flocks of fish jump in the air straight into the mouths of waiting brown bears. Alaskan fast food, I guess.  I watched a thirty-minute program about the five-year life span of salmon.

And when it was over, I didn’t know whose life had been wasted more—mine or those fish.
Only two out of every fifteen hundred eggs will survive to become salmon. They live and grow and—I  assume—hide a lot for three or four years until they become victims of their own instincts. Then, for no apparent reason, they click their little tailfins together, chant “there’s no place like home,” and begin an illogical ten thousand mile journey upstream all the way back to their hometown.

It’s an adventure that will cost them their life.  

They fight waterfalls and fatigue and hungry, lazy bears.  They even encounter a specialized predator called a salmon shark with an infinite appetite for omega 3’s.  And after nature reduces the surplus population of salmon, if the survivors are clever and strong and lucky enough to make it back to the family homestead alive, they will lay all their eggs in one basket and immediately die.  What a depressing, pointless life.

I was distraught and left with this thought: It sure sucks to be a salmon.
Apparently Alaska presents a hostile environment to man and beast and fish.  But if you’re a shivering slug on a sofa, there seem to be no known predators.  The only risk to my survival at the moment is dying from boredom or heat stroke under all these blankets.

But why take the chance?
Tomorrow I’m swiping the remote.


  1. I thought of you this morning, knowing we were having similar weather. Yet also knowing our responses were completely different, since I have no sense yet plenty of insulation.
    It was 28 degrees and snowing as I made my way to clean the office for which I'm responsible. Immediately following, I was headed to the gym. So for approximately 4.5 hours of this wintery day,I was in shorts. That's when I thought of you. :-)

  2. And that's what separates the cold from the bold. Shorts. Wow. I just threw on another blanket thinking about it. Love ya. :)

  3. At least it wasn't football! Bears and salmon are an improvement on that.

    1. I'm with you on that one, Liz. I have never understood football. And it was beautiful scenery with some hot coffee. I'm always tongue-in-cheek here, but it was a relaxing way to spend a cold day. :)