Fin and feather, flesh, blood and bone: the earth calls its creatures to leave the familiar, turn again into the unknown; to move steadily and continuously and at great risk toward an invisible goal, expending great energy with the possibility of failure… —Marianne Worcester
I write these words from the shores of Cape May, NJ where I am leading a retreat. Cape May is a resting place for weary souls seeking renewal and refreshment. It is also the resting place for Monarch butterflies as they make their long migratory journey to Mexico.
In Galway, Ireland, where I live, the mighty River Corrib rushes through the city with great vigor, connecting its source, Lough Corrib, with its destination, the great Atlantic Ocean. Each year the salmon here make their own migration, returning to the lake that was their birthplace, traveling from as far away as Canada.
Seattle salmon make a similar journey and the Native peoples have an annual homecoming ceremony for them. In the Skagit Valley, north of Seattle, I have stood on a midwinter’s day and witnessed thousands of swans and geese landing in a field, also on their own movement toward an invisible goal. In Alaska are the pods of Humpback whales who feed off the nutrient rich waters all summer and gain sustenance, and then return to warmer seas to give birth in the winter.