It's good to see the wind. The hell with feeling it. But to see it rake
over the ocean and run along the new grass of a west-facing hill, there's a
power and nostalgia and a certainty to it, even if any certainty of what it
will bring for the fisherman was lost some years ago. Maybe an upwelling of
the sea? Maybe the final days of the Humboldt squid in any water within 200
miles of here, which wouldn't break more than one heart, if
any at all.
Maybe krill by the trillions, miles and miles of
tiny bodies in rafted mass, so red it's almost frightening, like some
glorious murder on the sea. And maybe then the salmon, living and eating and
growing and, months from now, swimming the bays and rivers to forward the
whole thing again.
There still are a few party boats and there are
some private boats, too. There's that. There are boats at dry dock making
repairs for fishing seasons that might or might not happen, which, in its own
way, is a kind of hope. There's a skipper at the dock with four decades on
the ocean, and he'll look right into you and say, "You don't know
what'll happen. None of us do. But I know there are fish out there."
And you can drive home thinking about the ocean
and the god in charge, while the northwest takes hold, while you watch for
something, whispering, blow wind blow.
Brian Hoffman's weekly column, "The Fishing
Report," appears in the
San Francisco Chronicle on Thursdays (www.sfgate.com/columnists/hoffman). The California salmon fishery was closed again this year, as it was in 2008.