Home for Greenback Cutthroat Trout
Do bugs, crayfish, and other river life miss the trout when they’re gone? Ecologists, wildlife biologists, and naturalists are discovering that plants and animals know and feel way more than we ever imagined.
In the late 90s, I attended an annual Nature Conservancy Board of Governors meeting with trustees and staff from the state office, as well as the national office in Arlington, Virginia. I was part of the staff in Ohio and my job was on the ground stewardship of our preserves and natural areas.
During the event, a presentation by keynote speaker and author, Barry Lopez, made a huge impact on me. He spoke about people’s deep connection to nature and on a more personal note, his connection to the river near his home in the Pacific Northwest. He said he missed it when he was traveling. He missed the river, and he missed the salmon. Mr. Lopez asked the audience, “Do the salmon miss ME when I’m gone?”
Full circle back to my painting, Home for Greenback Cutthroat Trout. The image shows two worlds at once. Sunlight sparkles on the surface of the creek and new spring leaves dangle over the pristine water. Then we see beneath, two trout peaceful in their native home. Rays of light shimmer on the edge of shadows created by their sleek bodies. The fish leave signs of their presence as they glide through the water, at one with all that surrounds them.
When we’re away from our favorite river or stream, do the trout miss us when we’re gone?
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