Swimming upstream; seeking change

A single pink pearl … a salmon egg. It is small, fragile and without fish form … yet it holds the potential to become king. A king salmon. A chinook.

The life cycle of this fish is incredible and complex. They don’t just twitch their tail and transform from egg to full-grown king. A miraculous transformation takes place … one that requires time, trials and different waters.

This week, we went to the Gorge and watched salmon spawn. It was incredible! In fact, we completely lucked out by meeting fish and wildlife experts and examining their visual aids too.

Did you know that a salmon’s life cycle includes seven different stages? (From egg, to alevin, to fry, then parr, smolt, adult and spawning adult.) The egg is birthed in fresh water, but at a certain time in its development it migrates to the ocean’s salt water; then, when nature calls it home, it returns to natal waters in order to produce the next generation … And in giving life, it loses its own.

SMALL salmon_life cycle


Each stage in the life cycle comes with new challenges and physical changes … None of it seems easy. But considering how much effort and energy these fish exert, it seems they know the worth of the journey.

And as I stare at a single helpless egg, I find myself wondering if the new  life within comprehends what it could possibly become – and all that it will require to progress.

SMALL salmon_chinook

Do we really comprehend who we can become?

And how do we progress from our current status to our full potential?

“If we earnestly appeal to God, He takes us as we are – and makes us more than we ever imagined,”
Neil F. Marriott said in the LDS General Conference this weekend. (Watch the entire conference here.)

In that same conference, Elder Quentin L. Cook advised us to sincerely ask God to reveal what holds us back from our progression …
What are we lacking? What might we change to move on to the next stage? He suggested that the Spirit will whisper small and simple suggestions for change; and by willingly making them, we will prepare ourselves for the next stage in our progress …. and  that next stage will require more changes, which will prepare us for another stage … etc. In this way, our lives are full of numberless stages and small changes …

When Elder Cook advised us to pray about what we might personally change, five or six things immediately popped into my mind … and the majority are appendages to one central theme. I know where to focus my efforts, and that alone gives me hope for the future – for a better me!

Just think of our life’s changes and stages collectively – what progress we can make in a lifetime! Just dream of the potential we could reach in eternity, if our upstream climb continues to Him!

There’s nothing fishy about it – Heavenly Father wants us to return to Him, and to enjoy His love, glory, goodness and all that He has. That’s the kind of potential available to each one of us – even eternal happiness and exaltation.

So, as we watch the salmon jump, struggle and swim, I find myself rooting them on with a passionate and powerful force …. I think it can only be described as love.
Yes, love for the journey … Love for the life and each stage within it … and love for the inspiring creatures that embrace – even seek after – change (yes, even salmon … and humans).


SMALL Salmon _spawning


SMALL salmon_stuffed

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  • Julie

    That was beautiful… loved the salmon story and the spiritual insight.

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