Sunday, February 4, 2018

Death on the Delaware Bay

The fish after losing consciousness....and yes, fish are conscious.
I looked for crocuses, but found none, so I went to the north side of the Cape May ferry jetty today, one of my pondering places, maybe the pondering place. The afternoon was February bleak.

The south breeze was about 8 or 9 knots, but the water was flat next to the rocks. I was hoping to find a seal (and I'm always hoping I'll see the spout of a whale again).

I saw a swirl, I thought. Then I saw it again.

A small striped bass, maybe 4 or 5 pounds, was cutting across the surface. It was not well.

A ferry was on its way in. Ferries cause a lot of current on both sides of the jetty. I know because I watch. (I do not understand the physics, but I know what I see.)

The bass fought against the surge, and when the surge reversed, as it does, the bass slammed headfirst into the rocks.

It floated sideways unconscious, the gills still weakly moving.
And then nothing.

I've watched a lot of humans die, including my parents. I've killed a lot of the living, and some would argue I killed my Mom as I eased her pain with increasing doses of morphine and Fentanyl.

I watched a manchild die on his 18th birthday, back when cystic fibrosis meant early death, when he was finally old enough to demand his breathing tube be removed.

And I am always, always shocked by death's finality. The myth of the soul helps us grasp death's final incomprehensibility, but it's just that. A myth.


I went home and picked some kale, in the middle of winter. We will eat it this week.
This is not a metaphor, a fable, a parable.

It's just life.





Maybe I needed the reminder. 


2 comments:

Professor George said...

Poignant post. I don't think I've ever felt more bad for bass.

-Prof

https://helpmeinbiology.blogspot.com/

doyle said...

Dear Professor George,

Me, too--it's not like I won't eat one (or a dozen) if given the chance, but they are beautiful creatures (as any critter you get to know is).

Just a terrible way to end. My guess is that a seal almost got it earlier.

Thanks for writing!

~Michael