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Staying Power – Against the Flow

StrengthWho Said It…Les Knotts

Raised in an army family, Les attended West Point and was voted president of his class. Now a lieutenant colonel, he’s alternated infantry, ranger, and airborne assignments with schooling stints, and teaches English courses at West Point.

Les also teaches Sunday school to officers and cadets and their families, and serves on the Military Community Youth Ministries board.

Last summer’s highlight: hiking Italy’s Tuscany hills with his 15-year-old son, Tyler.

What He Said…Against the Flow

The first thrash sounded like someone had fallen into the water.  Monika and I turned just fast enough to see the dorsal red of a fish through his translucent scales.  Thirty pounds of salmon airborne!

After swimming against the current for at least 20 miles, the salmon was climbing these man-made concrete stairs around the falls on a tributary of Oregon’s Alsea River.  I began silently to root for him. “Hup, hup!”

But what was I rooting for? A fish making the ultimate sacrifice. He’d made the run downstream as a fingerling a year or two ago, adapted from fresh water to salt water then back again.

In doing so, he fought not only the current but the tide of extinction, the over-fishing, and the wooden grates blocking the rivers.

In giving the chunks of flesh from his battered and once-piked jaws to make the climb, he offered himself up for the perpetuation of his kind. He was running upstream to spawn and die.

We soldiers talk about tough, but we don’t know tough.

Adapted from Command (Officers’ Christian Fellowship, 5/05).

Prayer for the Week:  Lord, You’ve placed me in a challenging spot. Give me the faith, courage, and strength to stand tall there.


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