While snorkling in the Red Sea on a trip to Israel in the 90’s, I was enjoying seeing all of the beautiful fishes as I slowly kicked my fins. I had snorkled many times before and just marveled at the variety and abundance of colorful fish here.
The fish swam by me and around me and then I noticed one particular fish who was staying still about two feet away. He or she might have been a lion fish as these beautiful, long feathering fins were waving in the sea all around her. I slowly reached out my hand and stroked the edges of the top fins and the fish just continued to watch me. She wasn’t afraid and seemed to enjoy the interaction.
I was so entranced by this and the thought occurred to me: why did I buy fish at the store to eat when I would never dream of eating these beautiful fishes with whom I snorkled? Because one was decorated with beautiful colors and fins and the ones in the store were plain? I wasn’t eating cows, pigs, or chickens so why was I still eating these creatures with whom I had just had a magical experience that convinced me of a fish’s personality, curiosity and enjoyment of being touched? I stopped eating fish at that very moment.