Yes they certainly look like brightly colored koi, but in fact the fish which inspired the October Sockeye series is a salmon native to the Pacific. I’ve grown up just outside Seattle in a small suburb called Maple Valley. Our rivers and creeks are the breeding place for the large ocean-going, bright fuchsia-colored salmon.
When I was a little girl we had a small creek running through the South side of the property which occasionally would treat me to a glimpse of a large red sockeye. In the summers it was just a tiny trickle of water, but come flood season the small waterway could swell up to a substantial flow. In 1990 I was a six year old and this was the year of the “big flood.” By the third day of the torrential downpour our creek had spread to the entire yard and filled the garage with four inches of water.
Our house was safe, my parents were panicking and pleading with the clouds to stop raining. A few more inches would have meant massive damage to the family home. However, being just six years old, the yard--now vast watery expanse--became the ultimate fantasy setting for a game of pretend. We had a navy blue couch against the front window, my sister and I dropped our legs behind it and perched ourselves on the back of the sofa facing the window. I told Nina we were driving a ferry and this was the windshield. I remember there was this sparkly fairy wand I stuck between the cushion beside by leg, it became the manual shifting stick for the large ferry engine I was driving forward.