Reflections on fish, and their connection to our call to be stewards of creation & fishers of people: themes from Taste & See

… a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape … — Doris Lessing

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. — Henry David Thoreau

Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast;
in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish. — Ovid

Even if you’ve never felt the charge of a rapid, or a nimble trout as it slides through your fingers, you’re still connected to the rivers and streams that flow nearby—we all are. — Americanrivers.org

Some scriptural references for this week’s fish theme:

Some questions to consider:

  • Why do meals shared with common people such as fisherfolk, tax collectors, widows, and other marginalized people create community?
  • In what ways is water important in your everyday life?
  • In what ways is environmental imbalance or injustice showing up through fish or water in your everyday life?
  • Do you know anyone who doesn’t have access to clean or drinkable water?
  • As stewards of creation, what can we do in our local communities to restore and preserve balance in our waterways?

A Thirsty Fish (excerpt) — Rumi

I don’t get tired of you. Don’t grow weary
of being compassionate toward me!

All this thirst equipment
must surely be tired of me,
the waterjar, the water carrier.

I have a thirsty fish in me
that can never find enough
of what it’s thirsty for!

Show me the way to the ocean!
Break these half-measures,
these small containers.

All this fantasy and grief.

Let my house be drowned in the wave
that rose last night in the courtyard
hidden in the center of my chest …


Matins — John O’Donohue
1
Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn.

The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to colour.

2
I arise today
In the name of Silence, Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness, Home of Belonging,
In the name of the Solitude, of the Soul and the Earth.

I arise today
Blessed by all things, Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes, Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch, Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought, Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.

May I live this day Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word, Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought, Generous in love.


Learn more about:

Of Fishermen

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. — Vincent Van Gogh

Christianity began as a religion of the poor and dispossessed – farmers, fishermen, Bedouin shepherds. There’s a great lure to that kind of simplicity and rigor – the discipline, the call to action. — Camille Paglia

If I were not African, I wonder whether it would be clear to me that Africa is a place where the people do not need limp gifts of fish but sturdy fishing rods and fair access to the pond. I wonder whether I would realize that while African nations have a failure of leadership, they also have dynamic people with agency and voices. — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. — Attributed to Maimonides

Fishermen own the fish they catch, but they do not own the ocean. — Etienne Schneider

God’s desire for the wholeness and healing of all creation was inaugurated in a world changing way in the life of Jesus and it continues through you … Your hands are what God has to work with here. Hands that, no matter what your story is, have as much to receive as they have to give. Just by merit of being here, you’ve been conscripted into this beautiful, redemptive story of God’s love for all of humanity along with smelly fishermen, demoniacs and sick old ladies and the rest of Jesus dream team. — Nadia Biolz-Weber

Chefs are at the end of a long chain of individuals who work hard to feed people. Farmers, beekeepers, bakers, scientists, fishermen, grocers, we are all part of that chain, all food people, all dedicated to feeding the world. — Jose Andres

I love to watch the movement of light on water, and I love to play in rivers and lakes, swimming or canoeing. I am fascinated by people who work with water – fishermen, boatmen – and by a way of life that is dominated by water. — Berlie Doherty

What did Christ really do? He hung out with hard-drinking fishermen. — Iggy Pop

There are very few fishermen left today. — Paul Watson

In the past, when I shot films about fishermen and hunters, I always had to admire their ability to perceive time in its entirety. The present was always temporary. — Lennart Meri

Culturally, I have always been part of the proletariat. I lived side by side with the sons of glassblowers, fishermen and smugglers. The stories they told were shaper satires about the hypocrisy of authority and the middle classes, the two-facedness of teachers and lawyers and politicians. I was born politicized. — Dario Fo

Environmentalists aren’t nearly sensitive enough to the fact that they are messing around with struggling people and their livelihoods. They forget that the fishermen are the people with the most immediate vested interest in having a healthy sea. — Mark Kurlansky

Fish as Environmental Messengers

What is a fish without a river? What is a bird without a tree to nest in? What is an Endangered Species Act without any enforcement mechanism to ensure their habitat is protected? It is nothing. — Jay Inslee

Every fish in the ocean is in danger. — Paul Watson

People still do not understand that a live fish is more valuable than a dead one, and that destructive fishing techniques are taking a wrecking ball to biodiversity. — Sylvia Earle

There’s a great metaphor that one of my doctors uses: If a fish is swimming in a dirty tank and it gets sick, do you take it to the vet and amputate the fin? No, you clean the water. So, I cleaned up my system. — Kris Carr

I can stand in a crystal stream without another human around me and cast all day long, and if I never catch a single fish, I can come home and still feel like I had a wonderful time. It’s the being there that’s important. — Norman Schwarzkopf

Sustainable fishing results in a tremendous recovery of fish stocks and their habitats. Furthermore, healthy fish stocks and a healthy ocean environment are crucial for the livelihoods of coastal communities. Millions depend on fisheries as a source of food and income. Empty seas cause both empty stomachs and empty pockets. Buying sustainable seafood thus helps fish, the environment and people who depend on it. — Fish Forward

What is a fish without a river? What is a bird without a tree to nest in? What is an Endangered Species Act without any enforcement mechanism to ensure their habitat is protected? It is nothing. — Jay Inslee

Up to 80 percent of the fish that we catch spend at least part of their lives in estuaries. — Jim Gerlach

The ocean is the lifeblood of our world. If we were to lose our fish that we appreciate so much by overfishing; or if we were to lose some of our favorite beaches to overbuilding and pollution, then how would we feel? It’s become a case of not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone. — Aaron Peirsol

Ten percent of the big fish still remain. There are still some blue whales. There are still some krill in Antarctica. There are a few oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, a jeweled belt around the middle of the planet. There’s still time, but not a lot, to turn things around. — Sylvia Earle

Our fish, our recreation, our irrigation and all our uses of the … River are threatened if the drought continues and the Corps of Engineers decisions aren’t changed. — Mike Rounds

We are being choked to death by the amount of plastic that we throw away. It’s killing our oceans. It’s entering into our bodies in the fish we eat. — Kevin Bacon

Light doesn’t penetrate beneath the surface of the water, so ocean creatures like whales and dolphins and even 800 species of fish communicate by sound. And a North Atlantic right whale can transmit across hundreds of miles. — Rose George
 

The sun is the most important thing in everybody’s life, whether you’re a plant, an animal or a fish, and we take it for granted. — Danny Boyle

Cheap fish has usually been caught in careless ways. — Mark Kurlansky

One fifth of human kind depend on fish to live. Today now 70 percent of the fish stock are over-exploited. According to FAO if we don’t change our system of fishing the main sea resources will be gone in 2050. We don’t want to believe what we know. — Yann Arthus-Bertrand
 

You know how fighting fish do it? They blow bubbles and in each one of those bubbles is an egg and they float the egg up to the surface. They keep this whole heavy nest of eggs floating, and they’re constantly repairing it. It’s as if they live in both elements. — Audre Lorde

Fish as Sustenance


Eating together is the most intimate form of kinship. By scripting a work where we share the same kind of food with fish, I’m scripting our interrelationship with them. — Natalie Jeremijenko

Never be a food snob. Learn from everyone you meet – the fish guy at your market, the lady at the local diner, farmers, cheese makers. Ask questions, try everything and eat up! — Rachael Ray

I may be only a fish and chip shop lady, but some of these economists need to get their heads out of the textbooks and get a job in the real world. I would not even let one of them handle my grocery shopping. — Pauline Hanson

Saturday night is your big night. Everybody used to fry up fish and have one hell of a time. Find me playing till sunrise for 50 cents and a sandwich. And be glad of it. And they really liked the low-down blues. — Muddy Waters

80 percent of our global fish stocks are fully exploited, overly exploited or have collapsed. Two billion people rely on the oceans for their primary source of protein. — Barton Seaver

To be able to serve and to eat a whole fish, especially a trout, is part of civilized dining. — Julia Child

An Asian way of eating and living may help prevent and even reverse the progression of coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, prostate cancer and breast cancer. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy products and fish in your diet. Eat at home more with your family and friends. — Dean Ornish

I don’t eat fish because there is no such thing as sustainable fishing in the world right now. — Paul Watson

Seventy percent of the fish we eat is black market, fished in violation of international laws. Our ignorance makes us unwilling partners in crime. Rogue economics is turning the global market into our worst nightmare. — Loretta Napoleoni

There is no need for an end to fish, or to fishing for that matter. But there is an urgent need for governments to free themselves from the fishing-industrial complex … — Daniel Pauly

For me, food is all about balance. If you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and an appropriate amount of poultry, fish, and red meat that are sourced from good places, you’re doing well. — Curtis Stone

Fishing in sustainable ways means fewer fish, higher quality, better price at the market. That is a formula that is good for the environment and the fisherman but bad for the consumer. — Mark Kurlansky

Whenever possible, buy a fish whole. — Nobu Matsuhisa

I respected it. I submerged myself into it. So on a lot of days off I would go and fish with the fishermen and the families that ran the boats. I would go work the fields with farmers. I would go and talk with farmers about growing particular products for me. — Emeril Lagasse

Comprehensive climate legislation must be passed so that we can ensure a world where this and future generations can experience the bliss of breathing clean crisp air, while fishing in the Adirondacks… and being able to eat the fish afterwards. — Gloria Reuben

Fish as Teachers & Fishing as Spiritual Practice


No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish. — John Ruskin

Memory is a net: one finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Smell was our first sense. It is even possible that being able to smell was the stimulus that took a primitive fish and turned a small lump of olfactory tissue on its nerve cord into a brain. We think because we smelled. — Lyall Watson

My grandfather, Jesse Bowman, was of Abenaki Indian descent. He could barely read and write, but I remember him as one of the kindest people I ever knew. I followed him everywhere. He showed me how to walk quietly in the woods and how to fish. — Joseph Bruchac

Do not despise the fish because they are absolutely unable to speak or to reason, but fear lest you may be even more unreasonable than they by resisting the command of the Creator. Listen to the fish, who through their actions all but utter this word: ‘We set out on this long journey for the perpetuation of our species.’ — Saint Basil

When I fish, I stop thinking about anything else. But truth be told, if you want to declare victories, I can tell you the fish have won a lot more than I have. It’s interesting that something with a brain the size of a fish’s can outsmart us humans, who think we are el supremo. — Norman Schwarzkopf

Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface. Its their way of falling. — Andre Gide

Don’t bottom fish. — Peter Lynch

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish. — Mark Twain

What law, what reason can deny that gift so sweet, so natural that God has given a stream, a fish, a beast, a bird? — Pedro Calderon de la Barca
 

A fishnet is made up of a lot more holes than strings, but you can’t therefore argue that the net doesn’t exist. Just ask the fish. — Jeffrey Kluger

I dreamed: I am the fish whose flesh is eaten, and because I am fat, it is good. — Philip K. Dick

The day-to-day microaggressions that we all face, yeah, you have to let some stuff slide, or you go, ‘I gotta keep moving; there’s bigger fish to fry.’ It’s something that I still deal with. But I’ve tried to have the audacity of equality and to follow my heart in those moments where I feel like something is wrong. — Hasan Minhaj

The one thing that a fish can never find is water; and the one thing that man can never find is God. — Eric Butterworth

I think humans have to learn a new way of dwelling on this earth. A way of living with their companions: animals, plants and fish. — John Burnside

When you see a fish you don’t think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water… If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit. — Constantin Brancusi

When you cook, you take a life. When you eat fish, or meat, you take a life. And you must be very respectful of the ingredients and that is very important. — Joel Robuchon

We may know, for example, that something (a craving, or a grudge) is an obstacle for our happiness, that it brings us anxiety and fear. We know this thing is not worth the sleep we’re losing over it. But still we go on spending our time and energy obsessing about it. We’re like a fish who has been caught once before and knows there’s a hook inside the bait; if the fish makes use of that insight, he won’t bite, because he knows he’ll get caught by the hook. Often, we just bite onto our craving or grudge, and let the hook take us. We get caught and attached to these situations that are not worthy of our concern. If mindfulness and concentration are there, then insight will be there and we can make use of it to swim away, free. — Thich Nhat Hanh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *