I realized the other day that loving fish is probably not normal. Nonetheless, I love fish. I don't mean I love to eat fish, or that I love to catch fish, though both of those are true. No, I love fish as they are, in the water, swimming around doing fishy things.
Fish are fantastic, mysterious creatures. They live in a world we can only visit for short periods of time. They are so keenly adapted to the aquatic environment; they swim with an easy grace not even Michael Phelps can attain.
The other day, when I realized I love fish, I was fishing up in the cascades, watching a trout feeding in a turquoise pool, and it struck me that that fish had survived runoff in that very pool. To do so would have been an accomplishment; high water had tossed four foot diameter logs 15 feet up onto the rocks around the pool. At some point after ice out an awesome torrent of water scours this little creek. At that time I imagine not even the most insane white water kayaker would attempt this section of creek. Yet that little trout calls this creek home.
How tenacious, how powerful and beautiful to be so finely adapted to your environment that even during the worst possible situation, when your entire world is one giant, raging, maelstrom, you can leverage all of your abilities so that later, when the world has calmed down, you can sip caddis on a quiet Autumn evening. You can't not learn a little lesson from those fish, and maybe even feel a little affection for its resilience and beauty.
I let that fish be.