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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Klediments:  Buzz Bombs

The president is making his case for “striking” Syria.

The Pink salmon runs are surging through Puget Sound along with some Silvers and Kings (although we can’t keep the Kings anymore and must throw them back).  Fishing madness is invading the Island!

So it’s war then, again! 

Most fishers are using “Pink Buzz Bombs.”  Last night I saw one guy using a silver-spoon spinner but he didn’t catch anything.  Then again neither did I.

“Surgical strikes,” he says.  I had one of those once, it damn near killed me.

“Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.”  (Thomas Merton).  I think that may be true about our ideas about our ‘enemies’ as well.

The flesh of pink salmon are oily and soft and the fish don’t keep well.  They are best smoked or canned immediately.  Once the pinks hit the fresh water they start rotting quickly and will die soon.

"We cannot avoid missing the point of almost everything we do. But what of it? Life is not a matter of getting something out of everything. Life itself is imperfect. All created beings begin to die as soon as they begin to live, and no one expects any one of them to become absolutely perfect, still less to stay that way. Each individual thing is only a sketch of the specific perfection planned for its kind. Why should we ask it to be anything more?"  (Thomas Merton).

At the hardware store where I got my salmon fishing license (and a lot of other business all over the island) there are collection jars put out to raise money for a cute 5 year old girl with cancer.  Her family doesn’t have insurance and her treatment may cost as much 250.000 $  But so many people only carry cash cards these days that they don’t have change in their pockets.  Perhaps that is why the collection jar is almost empty?

I prefer a dry rub overnight with paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Soaking pinks in a brine makes the flesh too moist for my palate.  Plus, the more fluid the more prone to spoilage and bacteria.   

“People...including children were murdered,” the president says, and that, “this menace must be confronted.”

There is a picture of 5 year old Alice on the collection jar.  She is bald and getting thinner and there are darkening shadows under her eyes.  She is smiling for the picture though.  It could break ones heart.

The Wash. state dept. of fisheries rules insist that fishers cut the barbs off of their hooks.  This limits the killing and allows some salmon to slip off the hooks and escape up river and spawn.  In theory I know that this makes sense.  But when I’m reeling in an 8 pound silver and it wiggles off my hook 5 feet from shore I swear silently and feel that I have been cheated.

The president asks:  “...what message do we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children without consequence?”

Against common wisdom, fish don’t rot from the head first.  At least not pink salmon, they rot from the middle and then it spreads to the tail and then to the head.

High tide is at 5:30 tonight.  Those of us without boats must try and cast our lures as far as we can out into the surf to reach the schooling fish.  It’s frustrating to watch big salmon jumping just yards away from my farthest cast!  Sometimes I cast for hours without even a nibble, and then someone else shows up and starts fishing right next to me and catches their limit almost immediately!  It’s hard for me not to think of those fish as mine, that they have been stolen from me.  Shouldn’t there be some proportionality between effort and reward?  I can’t help but be a little pissed off.  It doesn’t help that he looks so deserving and smug. 

I see that Alice’s picture and story are posted on facebook now.  Her posting has gotten more than 650 likes and 30 shares!  Everyone is praying for her and giving her (((hugs))).  It’s the exact same picture as the one on the jars but somehow she looks more hopeful now, the smile less coaxed.  I “like” and (((hug))) her too.   

“Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” (Thomas Merton).

He says: “what message do we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children without consequence?”  I wish there was someway to “dislike” things on facebook.  I would certainly “dislike” dictators that kill children, and cancer too.

Other key phrases cast out:

“Make an example to other countries...
Ancient sectarian differences...
We must not turn a blind eye to what happens in Damascus...
Some things are more important than the politics of the moment...
Limited in scope...
Deter behavior...
National security interests...
This menace must be confronted...
Right makes might....”

(I reckon that that last line is supposed to be a clever play on that old saying that “might makes right.”  I wonder who came up with that idea and how many it will hook?).

"You are fed up with words, and I don't blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes. I am also, to tell the truth, nauseated by ideals and with causes. This sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean.  It is so easy to get engrossed with ideas and slogans and myths that in the end one is left holding the bag, empty, with no trace of meaning left in it. And then the temptation is to yell louder than ever in order to make the meaning be there again by magic. Going through this kind of reaction helps you to guard against this. Your system is complaining of too much verbalizing, and it is right....  The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen, and we can share in them; but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important."  (Thoman Merton).

I am going to try glueing  shiny yellow dots on the sides of my buzz bombs.  I am hoping that those reflective circles will look like fish-eyes and will fool some salmon into thinking that these painted lead buzz bombs are tasty little fish!


(And special thanks to Beth Cioffoletti over at for reminding me so often of Thomas Merton's words and wisdom.  And to Ben Myers over at the blog  for directing my attention again to the relationships among words and life).

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