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Song of the Salmon: A Full Life Circle of Hope

Updated on January 10, 2013

Every creature fights for life.

Song of the Salmon -
Song of the Salmon - | Source

Some creatures are driven.

The Pacific Salmons’ collective quest to breed in the exact river bed that they were born in, is one of the most amazing and underrated feats of nature. Each year since the beginning of time, West Coast Rivers of North America and Canada have been nature’s highways for carrying four and five year old salmon returning home from the rich saltwater currents of the Pacific Ocean, driven by the urge to spawn. Within a few weeks of that event, freshly hatched juvenile salmon move downstream in freshwater currents to the sea, where they will acclimatize and spend the rest of their lives trying to survive, until their river calls them home.

The ‘run’ up river is truly a testimony to the power and depth of purpose of nature. Collectively the various breeds of Pacific Salmon that make their spawning run upstream, not only provide a major food source for most other forest and river creatures, but also for the indigenous tribes who have for hundreds of years honored and valued the life spirit of the salmon. The journey of the salmon may be hundreds of miles long and during the run they change both in appearance and color as they near their destinations. Every conceivable creature that lives in the wild has gathered somewhere along the way, to wait for the salmon to arrive and to prey upon the sheer numbers of fish. The greatest predators encountered by the salmon are the mighty Grizzly Bears that fight for designated fishing spots and the range of birds of prey, like Eagles and Ospreys that hunt the salmon along the entire length of the river.

Unlike its Atlantic Salmon cousin, ultimately one way or another, each Pacific Salmon gives up it’s life during the spawning run, with those that do eventually spawn creating the entire next generation, only to die from it’s expended energy, having not eaten since before leaving the sea. Nature dictates that nothing of those determined and courageous salmon is wasted. Although gulls gorge themselves on thousands of fertile eggs, just as bears, wolves and other birds scatter broken salmon bodies across the rivers and forest floors; the Pacific Salmon give their spirit and bodily nutrients back to the earth, the rivers and the sea.

Below is a tribute to the life and spirit of the Pacific Salmon and its relevance to nature and our lives. The poem is called ‘Song of the Salmon’ and is written by Pearldiver. I hope that you enjoy ‘Song of the Salmon.’

Copyright © 2012 - 2013 Pearldiver - Art of the Diver with all rights reserved.

Waterfalls are to be climbed by salmon and determined souls.

Alone - Climbing Fluid Steps -
Alone - Climbing Fluid Steps - | Source

To forest glades lining rivers.

- Forest Floors -
- Forest Floors - | Source
- Lining -
- Lining - | Source
- Climbing Fluid Steps -
- Climbing Fluid Steps - | Source

'Song of the Salmon.'

Goodbye to vast Pacific roaming

We’ve reached our own river paths

Back to homes left four years ago

Driven by nature’s intuitive powers

We gather here waiting with friends

In awe, at how much they’ve grown

And to forest glades come gentle people

Greeting one another, with stories of the run

Grizzly bears line the banks and water falls

Impatient gulls wait with patient black crows

Eagles in September cedars watch and wait

All patrons of great anticipation, all hoping

The salmons’ song, this year, won’t be late

Nature always tries to provide a perfect moment

For sacrifice written in songs and streams

For those driven by the urge to return and die

To spawn another generation in smooth river stones

Swimming on against the current and all the odds

The salmons’ song brings no tears to nature’s eyes

As they complete another full life circle, yet again

New life hatches, but the lyrics, remain the same

Now beyond all those that managed to live on, because

Beyond newly nourished redwood forest floors

Beyond the totems that honor this magical race

One tiny sockeye sings of past lives and sacrifice

On a quest to roam a vast ocean, to grow and then

Return home bravely, within a salmons’ song

With many friends, all born here, back to this exact place...

Words by Pearldiver

Copyright © 2012 - 2013 Pearldiver - Art of the Diver with all rights reserved.

Grizzly Bears Argue Over The Best Fishing Positions.

- Grizzly Bears Fight To Fish -
- Grizzly Bears Fight To Fish - | Source

Mankind needs to learn about nature and having empathy.

- Teach -
- Teach - | Source

Nature Conservation and the Salmons' Plight.

Man has in the past, generally ignored the delicate balance that exists within the migratory needs and genetic traits of most wildlife and fish species. Man has built fences, created barriers, removed or changed special natural ecosystems and dammed rivers, with careless disregard to predictable consequences of those actions, to other living creatures. Justification gives rise to a myriad of excuses, blaming that relevant species group: for example, those creatures ‘get in the way of’ or are deemed to ‘interfere with’ human lifestyle development, or mankind’s other current and future needs! Always Mankind's Needs!

Further to this, other living creatures are also arrogantly culled by humans, in what is referred to as sustainable ‘commercial harvesting,’ yet in reality simply represents the decimating a species for financial gain, with little regard to that species needs. Such practices in modern times are often exploited as a result of humans having learned those natural migratory habits of the targeted species and then using those habits against the species to ensure commercial success. Sadly today somewhere in our world, man has helped to make another species extinct. It seems that nothing has been learned, nor wisdom sown, by too many generations of reapers.

World fish stocks are currently at their lowest ever, even though mankind has known for decades that the annual levels of decline would ultimately ensure the end of many once prolific species. Tuna stocks are currently raped to serve a greedy world of consumers who demand fish within their diets, at any cost! Sea-run salmon is equally sought after by a public oblivious to the salmons' quest for survival and the ancient lyrics to the 'Song of the Salmon.'

Copyright © 2012 - 2013 Pearldiver - Art of the Diver with all rights reserved.

Spent Salmon litter river banks - life is plentiful until it is gone!

- Lost Salmon -
- Lost Salmon - | Source

Original Poetry sponsored by: Saving Wildlife.

After a salmon meal bears enjoy snoozing in the sun.

- Bizzly Gear - Snooze -
- Bizzly Gear - Snooze - | Source

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  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi Barb, thank you, on behalf of silent salmon, for caring. Pacific Salmon count far more than the public know and their significance is seen in so many ways that once again, the public do not see as having a bearing on their lives. Mankind is so arrogant in his stolen order of importance. The Columbia River is so important to the species, but they also make their ways up smaller streams to the places of their birth and we overlook the damage caused to them by insecticides and runoff from man's developments.

    Unfortunately, the odds do not favor wildlife, unless man takes several steps back and actually listens to the song of the salmon once and for all. Perhaps we writers can accompany that song and convey the follies of arrogance and ignorance.. I hope so.

    Thanks for reading this piece and for understanding the plight... aren't we lucky that our lives are not dependent upon the lives of salmon... or, are they? Cheers for your support and kind words... take care.

  • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

    Barbara Anne Helberg 

    7 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

    @Pearldiver...This is a beautifully done Hub -- lovely art and pictures -- and important in its content!

    PBS did a program on the plight of the new generations of Pacific Salmon as a result of the damming of the Columbia River. It was quite an eye-opener.

    It's difficult to argue the pros and cons of tapping into nature's reserves for the benefit of mankind.

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi DAWNEMARS, thanks for taking the time to read this and for your positive compliment. I'm glad that you enjoyed my words and version of the plight of the salmon. Yes we should try to protect and nurture other living creatures, as we share our earthspace with so many species that would be better off without us, or our interference in their environment.

    We do have much to learn about and from nature... perhaps we can learn to see ourselves as nature and her other creatures see us... and change.. before it is too late! Cheers for your support.. take care.

  • DAWNEMARS profile image


    7 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe

    Such beautiful words capturing this poor creature's plight. You make me feel that animals are our children. We should protect and nurture them all! Thanks for this touching piece about our natural world.

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi Maita, thanks for reading and commenting on this poetry, it tells of a very special part of nature in which salmon just push on regardless of the terrain and risk to spawn and die.

    Yes, I do care always, that's who I am and part of my hope that I can make a positive difference in some way. I very much appreciate having the opportunity to write about such events.. they are amazing in their drive. Thanks for also caring Maita... you be well and take care.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    7 years ago from US

    You captured the beauty and life of Salmon depicted in the beautiful poetry. You care for everything and appreciate life and I like that!! Rated A+++ TC, Maita

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi ML, thanks for that, I'm glad that you enjoyed this work. If the stream was polluted this fall, then it would depend entirely on how many hatchlings were killed by the fuel and how many eggs were destroyed. Unless they were surveyed the only way to really know will be from the number that run four - five years from now... not from next fall's run. I hope it isn't an empty run then.

    Good on you getting the shots, but they can't beat being there can they? Sent you a PM about that and hey if I was living in Canada, we'd do a documentary mate :) Thanks as always for your positive input and you take care out there!...k?

  • SomewayOuttaHere profile image


    7 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

    excellent PD!'ve captured the run so eloquently

    ..unfortunately the run i witnessed and photographed this fall may not return later...someone drunk and driving turned over their fuel truck spilling the fuel into the stream...we'll have to wait and see what happens. i might send you some pics...i tried to capture nature's was amazing

    ...great pics!

    ...another run i witnessed...was absolutely amazing...i waded in the water as the great salmon moved very, very, very slowly by me to their final one was around...just me and the rest of was the end

    are you sure you aren't living in Canada and on the west coast?...let's meet for coffee..k?

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi Ruby, thank you for your compliments and positive comments. It is sad that they are affected so badly by mankind in their runs and breeding shallows, especially when it comes to thoughtless private use of pesticides etc that pollute and destroy large numbers of juveniles before they get a chance to reach the sea... I'm glad that you enjoyed this and care for these beautiful creatures.. take care.

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi Barry, I wasn't aware of the movement to help protect this species when I wrote this article. I did no research on the salmon prior to publishing this here either, or I would have realized how extensive the cause had become. I have always fished and been fascinated by nature and the migratory habits of fish and wildlife. I was lucky enough to experience the run of the Sockeye Salmon some years ago, so I wrote this based on what I had experienced first hand and how moved I was by some of the stories of tribal elders, whose tribe believed their spirits merged with the salmon.

    I have caught many sea-run Salmon in the South Island of NZ - they tend to be Quinnet Salmon and return to the sea to breed again the following years. They are naturally very deep in color and make our farmed salmon seem quite insignificant by comparison. I caught my best wild quinnet salmon after a 20 minute battle and it weighed 38lb. They are truly regal fish and a rich source of Omega3 oils.

    Thanks for your complimentary and informative comment Barry.. I appreciate your knowledge.. Happy New Year btw.. be as the dragon! It is my sign.. hence my avatar.. take care Sir.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    7 years ago from Southern Illinois

    This is interesting and beautifully written. The Salmon drive to return home has always fascinated me. Thank you.

  • Barry Wah Lee profile image

    Barry Wah Lee 

    7 years ago from Auckland

    I was alerted to the Salmon plight last year. It is a poem straight from the heart and very satisfying to read.It is a subject matter that is of more importance that many of us realise. I just had some yesterday from NZ sources, and I did not realise that the ones from NZ are fed colouring, whereas the proper red colouring is from when they eat an algae from which we can get an antioxidant astaxanthanin which is one of the very best you can get for helping eyesight and creakiness in old age.

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi badegg, thank you for taking the time to read this work and I appreciate your compliments and comments. I'm sure most people don't realize just how much wildlife in the Northwest depend on the salmon runs... but they are as you say, magnificent creatures. Cheers for your support.. take care.

  • badegg profile image

    Del Banks 

    7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

    Very good article. It is very well written and informative. I have spent a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest just observing these magnificent creatures. Thank you for this hub!

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hello Genna, thanks for reading this and leaving such an excellent comment about the salmon. Yes, they are driven and determined to reach the upper shallows with the energy they have gained. What is amazing to me is that they don't eat during their time from leaving the sea. Take your camera next time you watch a run.. there is so much going on if you take in the whole picture. Cheers for your compliments... take care.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Sometimes, we watch the salmon run that is located several miles from our home. It is amazing to see how they can jump and navigate waters and currents.

    Your hub about the Pacific salmon is fascinating, and very well written. :-)

  • Pearldiver profile imageAUTHOR

    Rob Welsh 

    7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Hi sashas89, thank you for taking the time to read this article and for your positive comments.

    Yes, in rivers all over the world fish migrate like the salmon, but I think perhaps people tend to relate more to the Pacific salmon and their journey. It is indeed a tragedy in some respects, yet this species actually feeds almost 50 other species as a result of their sacrifice... cheers for your support.. take care.

  • sashas89 profile image


    7 years ago from A Series of Tubes

    Amazing hub, Pearldiver! The Salmon is indeed an inspiring figure, stretching the last of its resources just to survive. In many ways, it's life cycle is one of tragedy - all the effort, only to perish.


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