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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Trout Are Speaking

Air Date: Week of

Rainbow Trout (bigstockphoto.com)

Writer Mark Seth Lender contemplates rainbow trout in a crystal clear British Columbia Stream, and finds they seem to be contemplating him in return.


CURWOOD: We tend to think of fish as foreign. They can’t live in our world, and we can’t live in theirs. And yet when writer Mark Seth Lender stumbled across a trout stream in British Columbia he felt strongly drawn to them - in part because they seemed drawn to him.

(© Mark Seth Lender)

LENDER: Trout are speaking. See their mouths moving, their gills bleating. They part their lips and brush the mirrored surface where the stream caresses the air, and each leaves a bubble there like a blown kiss. Rainbow of fishes! How the water colors as they splash and slide and scrub their scales against the river-rounded stones! (like a cat whiskering scent to the place he calls home).

Rainbow Trout (© Mark Seth Lender)

Here, only here, where the water has speed and motion, they conjoin; they lay and fertilize their eggs here, oxygen and cleanliness in need more than tranquility (a notion as foreign to life that swims as the stratosphere). And yet, by this choice of place, almost all the labor of their life’s work will be lost. Most of their progeny carried off or swallowed. But some live, some lucky few. They find the Way. They head out to deep water where they thrive, despite the loons with their red eyes, the bald eagle who drops from the sky, the diving ducks (Bluebills, and the Goldeneyes who plunge in a row) and Snapping Turtle who hunts them from below.

(© Mark Seth Lender)

One rainbow of a trout bends, and captures me in her eye. Looks up, through water clear as a winter star. And holds me there as she swims in place and the water parts around her in her grace and the change in the light is the only trace, a shadow the current carries far, and far...

CURWOOD: Mark Seth Lender is the author of Salt Marsh Dairy, A Year on the Connecticut coast. For some of his fishy photos, swish on over to our website, LOE.org.



Mark Seth Lender


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