Where there is no water, there are no fish. Where there are no fish, there are no fishermen. And where there are no fishermen, there may or may not be worms, but there certainly are no men doing the worm dance in the open grassy field. I know, because I was the only one doing it, and I just stopped.
Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.
The orange of the golden carp appeared at the edge of the pond. . . . We watched in silence at the beauty and grandeur of the great fish. Out of the corners of my eyes I saw Cico hold his hand to his breast as the golden carp glided by. Then with a switch of his powerful tail the golden carp disappeared into the shadowy water under the thicket.
I flung open the door. I got a momentary flash of about a hundred and fifteen cats of all sizes and colours scrapping in the middle of the room, and then they all shot past me with a rush and out of the front door; and all that was left of the mobscene was the head of a whacking big fish, lying on the carpet and staring up at me in a rather austere sort of way, as if it wanted a written explanation and apology.
By 2030, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, fish farming will dominate fish supplies. Given how wrong the FAO has been in the past--saying catches were going up when, in fact, they were going down--this statement is worth examining carefully. When you do, you find it to be an observation of previous trends, not a reflection of what could happen or what people might want--in the same way as Red Delicious was once far and away the most popular apple in the United States because it was basically the apple you could get. The FAO is simply observing that fish farming is the fastest growing form of food production in the world--growing at 9 percent a year and by 12-13 percent in the United States. Nobody is asking us whether we want this. It is just happening. The continued destruction of mangrove swamps in poor countries to provide shrimp for people living in rich countries is simply the market operating in a vacuum untroubled by ethics. It is a reflection of what will go on happening if we do not find ways of exercising any choice in the matter.
Once we were blobs in the sea, and then fishes, and then lizards and rats, and then monkeys, and hundreds of things in between. This hand was once a fin, this hand once had claws! In my human mouth I have the pointy teeth of a wolf and the chisel teeth of a rabbit and the grinding teeth of a cow! Our blood is as salty as the sea we used to live in! When we're frightened, the hair on our skin stands up, just like it did when we had fur. We ARE history!Everything we've ever been on the way to becoming us, we still are. Would you like the rest of the story?I'm made up of the memories of my parents and my grandparents, all my ancestors. They're in the way I look, in the color of my hair. And I'm made up of everyone I've ever met who's changed the way I think.