The harbour seal is what really tipped me off; seals being about as common to see around here as a beaver in the Old Man River – it happens but it doesn’t happen every day. There were Buffleheads abounding, a loon in the distance, and even the seagulls were relinquishing their places on the rocks to troll the sea over the incoming tide. The perfect time for Mackerel fishing.
The first ones we’d caught were when I was pulling in Pea Pod, the transporter dinghy, towards the boat to step in and head into town. “Oh look! A school of Mackerel!” They danced under the surface of the water, beside the algae-dappled side of the small boat. I enjoyed the flashy show and continued to load my shoes and bag in, assuming we were still on schedule to leave. Before I could turn around there’d been a bite on the line that I hadn’t even been aware was deftly dropped into the ocean. A few quick moves and it was in a jar in the cooler, ready for breakfast. The trip into town resumed, this time with the pole in tow, and another was picked up before we docked at the harbour. They were a delicious, oily breakfast.
This morning however, did not see the fish themselves but rather an ocean full of my competitors. I admit, the buffleheads are quite common and really, they’ll eat anything. But the loon? And the seal? I knew I was in luck.
I pulled out the pole, still in easy access from being utilized during yesterday’s potluck on the boat. (seven people eating dinner on a particularly rollicky day in a 28 foot Rozinante? Sure! Why not!) Though it didn’t catch anything then, today I only needed a few casts before I felt a familiar tug on my line. No, this wasn’t a mussel shell, etched with coral like I’d caught on my first cast, this was a real live mackerel.
While I still haven’t taken the step of doing the actual killing of a fish I was about to eat, the process sure does fascinate me. Eating a fish right out the water – wriggling on my line one moment, in my cookstove the next. Does it get much better than this?
Yes, actually, it does. A hike up Mount Battie often has me searching for unpopulated places to sit and reflect in the forest that the hill-top provides. What it also has me searching for are wild blueberries. I had no idea blueberries grew so rampantly around here. I’ve filled my belly and my cup with these gifts from the land. Just like I filled my breakfast plate with a gift from the sea this morning.
I remember a moment, in the thick of the veganism I’ve explored in the last few years, when I said to myself that I could never eat another sentient being again. I guess being a yogi has something to do with being real with myself, and while I take a moment to thank the creature that gave its life for my nourishment, I certainly have been eating sentient beings lately.
How could I not when they are deliciously fresh from the end of my fishing pole? I’m grateful to live in a world of abundance – kind of like the armful of stuff I received at church this week.