Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Bookshelf

The first time I witnessed a fish run up a river I was in the Pacific Northwest. Thousands of salmon running up a river to spawn and die was a magnificent, magical sight. Signs posted along the river warned not to wade or allow pets to wade in the river in order to protect fragile eggs. It was an event that can rarely be witnessed today.

We have our own fish runs in Indiana, maybe not to the same extent as the salmon of the Northwest, but our fish run from Lake Michigan to spawn in streams in Northwest Indiana. The fish in the photograph were spawning in Coffee Creek a couple of years ago.

The Stream by Brian Clarke is a poignant tale about the struggle between stream, river, ecosystem, fish, and man's needs and desires. It takes place over a five year period in the life of a stream.

A trout is born; escapes being otter food, being caught by fishermen, struggles to find food. In the meantime, in the human world, dams are planned, factories built, human needs are being met by people totally oblivious to the trout, his needs, his place in the scheme of things. His world is at risk of being exterminated by beings who don't know of his existence and whom he has never met.

The Stream is a haunting book that applies no matter where you live; right in your own back yard is a world at risk; a trout, a stream, a wetland; an ecosystem. If you only read one book about the environment this year; read this one. And be sure to take a look around your own backyard ecosystems before they, too, disappear.....            

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