Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hidden Abundance

I could see a large school of banded killis from the surface. They have been here for a month. I couldn’t see any of the migrants I was hoping for, but I got in the water anyway. The hundred or so strong banded killifish school moved away in unison pointing into the current like a hundred flags in a breeze. At least 50 darters hopped across the bottom. Some looked wide and pregnant. A smaller school of common shiner fed in the current as spot tail shiners pointed nose up into the flow. I pulled my head from the water when an Amtrak train whizzed over the bridge. I could hear cars pass on the route 7 bridge just upstream. I ducked back underwater and all this abundance hidden from most came back into view. A few herring scales glowed on the bottom. The migrants are here somewhere. I drift over the deep hole under the bridge. I always have visions of huge catfish living there, though they only exist in my imagination. It’s that same uneasy feeling I get every time I drift from shallow to deep and peer over the edge. Silver flashes up from the bottom and soon the school comes into focus. Hundreds of foot long shad and herring pack this pool in a swirling mass of fish. From above they are barely visible, but they become apparent when they present their silver sides. There must be a thousand fish in this short 100 foot section of stream today, from six different species. So many people hustle through their existence without slowing just a little to notice the incredible world around us, the amazing nature among us. All this abundance hidden from view.

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