10 Tips for Healthy Living From the Salmon People

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A few helpful hints for the Standing People from the Salmon People:

1. Show off your beauty. Know how beautiful you are. Leap. Surge. Mingle. Dance.

2. Have grand adventures. Cross the North Pacific all the way to Kamchatka and Hokkaido. Move under your own power. Navigate by the stars.

3. Be intimate with the tides and currents. Play the edges constantly. Find your joy there.

4. Hang out with charismatic megafauna. Congregate with humpback whales and bald eagles and sea lions and humans among the tides rips and upwellings, and where the herring come to spawn.

5. Know where you are going, and let nothing stop you. Remember in your bones the exact location of the stream where you were born. Know where you are, always, in relation to that stream.

6. Turn for home when your body tells you it's time. Trust that you will find the way, and don't be daunted by any distance.

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7. Give yourself away to the creatures who need you, who have waited expectantly for your return: the Swimming People, the Flying People, and the Standing People whose lives are bound so closely to yours'.

8. When at last you reach the home stream, head straight into the current and start climbing. Climb the rapids. Climb the waterfalls. Climb the very mountains. Bend yourself to that final act of love that will keep it all going.

9. Let go of any thought of preserving your beauty now. Let your body morph, sprout humps and fangs and rainbow colors. And in that final act of union, pour yourself out with your lover into the stream that will be your progeny.

10. Let it all go now. Feed the animals with your spent body. Stray far into the ancient forest as you swim down their bodies and back into the soil. Become the very flesh of the forest itself. Climb to the tops of the trees.

(As transcribed from the Salmon People by Kurt Hoelting during the Blue River Writer's Gathering, Andrews Experimental Forest, McKenzie River, OR, Sept. 25-27, 2014)

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