Charles P. Ries The 2River View, 7.3 (Spring 2003)
Seed of Greatness

          (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2/7/03)

Some thought of him as a throw back to the Cretaceous
Period. A yellow belly bottom dweller who in the midst
of spring’s spawning season could leap like a porpoise.

We tagged him in Lake Winnebago in 1978 and named
him Mike. He swam down the Fox River, over 14 dams
and locks and into the Great Lakes. Mike was to Sturgeons
what Christopher Columbus was to Italy. The outsider,
astronaut, citizen philosopher who followed his own stream.

Washing up on Sandusky Bay in Lake Erie, Mike was
ignominiously found dead on arrival in the grip of a
commercial fishing net. Wisconsin/Ohio wildlife authorities
concluded his death was the result of spawning stress at
100 years of age. He had wandered nearly 400 miles as the
crow flies from a lake his species was never known to leave.

God bless fish like Mike, or men like Mike, or reptiles
like Mike. For out of the million aberrant matings and
progeny they produce, a few mutant seeds grow wilder
than the rest. Seeds that carry the promise of leading a
flock, a school, or a human race out of their pond and
into a vast uncharted sea.

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