I had a recurrent nightmare of wading in shallow water, and tiny fish nibbling away my toes, unable to pull my feet out of the lake. Too many nature shows about pirana. These dreams faded by the time I started school, but I still have a strange preoccupation with fish, without actually liking them. Except to eat. When I first heard stories of fish falling from the sky, I thought about the story of Moses and Manna from Heaven, a miraculous rain.
Instead of miracles, falls of fish, whether of a single species or a variety, near water or fairly far inland are dismissed as the result of waterspouts and whirlwinds. Although in a few cases, this is probably accurate, it's rather like the stab victim - who was "just standing around minding my own business." Such a blanket excuse, a comfort, not in any way analytical or thoughtful.
Living creatures from out of the blue. Jan DeBlieu's Wind:How the Flow of Air has Shaped Life, Myth, and the Land, suggests that whirlwinds could explain some falls, but adding in the amazing insight that jet streams could easily move birds long distances, and so, I thought, why not fish? Charles Fort may have believed in teleportation of some sort. I much prefer a natural, if mysterious and unlikely explanation. A rare, unpredictable, but given just the right series of peculiar circumstances, and a small area will be up to their knees in anomalous frogs or smelt. Why not wind, which throws straws into trees and changes rocks?
Occam's razor cuts both ways. The simple does not always take into account all the circumstances, when the facts are bizarre.
What, I thought, would happen if a people are faced with regular falls of fish? What if they live by the best precepts of scientific method, observing and gathering data, not theorizing ahead of the facts? On the edge, in need of protein, as most human civilization always has been? I imagine them both logging the sizes and species, times, conditions, and then having a fish fry. What would this do to their worldview, their beliefs? Especially given the human capacity to normalize the extraordinary.
I will likely never experience a fish rain. But I would hope I would have the presence of mind to turn my umbrella up to catch as many as I can.