Family. God, they’re hard to shake. It seems like no matter how strongly you may have shoved them off, they just keep coming back. They’re like salmon swimming upstream; it’s brutal and hard but it’s instinct to go back home. That’s why salmon get picked off by bears.
Family is difficult. It’s hard to communicate with people who have known you all your life because they have pretty solid ideas about who you are. Even when you may be 30 years older and three feet taller than the person in that family photo from the camping trip to Lake Ewajawa who is climbing a tree and flashing a smile minus a tooth. People don’t accept change easily so it’s problematic for family to understand that I’m actually a fully grown, independent adult, capable of using my brain just like a real human.
Life is a constant state of evolution that is more than just the passage of chronological years. It involves growth that comes from a deeper understanding of one’s presence in the world and the effect of others’ presence in our lives. It’s a recycling process of energy. What we send out is what we receive.
As life changes so do families, which is the first place we all learned that we get back what we dish out. None of us stay at our thirteenth year. Family members are added through birth or marriage and others are lost through death (you’re a member of your family until you die – it’s like a prison sentence.) These transformations are inevitable and every individual adjusts differently to these presences in life. It’s necessary to be forgiving and understanding when members are in conflict, as that’s the only way to move onward through the ever-changing currents together as a team. Failing that: just get into a big fight with each other and vow never to speak again until you finally do. We always go home.
Home ends up being more about people then places. There is a comfort in those lunatics who have known you all your life. It’s a familiarity that breeds comfort and ease and the occasional homicidal urge. These people in our lives carry us forward in the tough streams with their humour, their acceptance, and their unrelenting presence. That’s how salmon survive: they have they momentum of their families to carry them forward towards home..
Keri lives in Boyle Street. We are not sure whether or not she likes salmon.