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Season of Stillness and Gratitude

Hello neighbor,

Winter is a time to revel in the magic of what’s revealed in stillness. I wish you the privilege of having space for this kind of rest, a nourishing reprieve after busier times.

Paw prints and wing tips set into fresh snow, a deep freeze blanketing a minus tide - stories unfurl differently during these slow months of survival and hibernation under stars and moonlight.

For me, the pace of this season resonates with my curiosity: I am afforded a setting for slow, deep observation. While the lively rhythm of summer harvest feeds my hunger for movement, the short days around winter solstice offer room for close study of interconnectedness. (photo: a crow selected a clear creek for a drink of water)

In fisheries management meetings, I am consistently baffled, brokenhearted and motivated by a systemic inclination to gloss over the known interdependence and ungraspable mysteries of ecosystems. Habitat - the living web of cooperative organisms making home on the earth - is often portrayed by neat mathematical tables. It has been openly dismissed as boring. A minimizing comment in a Council meeting earlier this year piqued my interest in a species of coral known as sea pens. I came to discover that despite being calculated to recover as quickly to disturbance from fishing gear as sea anemones, these slow-growing “trees of the seas” serve a unique and irreplaceable role in the ecosystem - and aren’t getting near the protection they deserve. In fact, they haven’t for decades. And the effects undoubtedly cascade.

At what point will “best scientific information available” include the tool of human intuition, honed through generations of place-based relationships? When will reverence for complex biodiversity be seen not as an inconvenience to process, but an important component of stewardship? Who can witness the magic and glory of this incredible earth and say it doesn’t need protection? Where is there room for discussion about what is needed for another 10,000 years of a habitable earth?

These are the questions that roll around my conceptual mind as I climb carefully over barnacle-covered rocks and mussel beds during time designated for being “off the clock.” But sometimes, the chatter in my brain is quieted. I become immersed in observance, the human constructs I’ve been taught melting away as my senses guide me toward deep experiential knowing. I become part of the place I love. I am keenly aware that this place loves me back, revealing abundance and generosity. (photo: a variety of species eat pink coralline algae)

This is why fishing is special, why access to place-based being is important, and why conservation is essential for the health of all.

Wishing each of you a sense of rejuvenation in this season of quiet power.

In stillness and deep gratitude,

Marissa Wilson

Executive Director

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