First Peoples

The Biggest Waterfall of All

So, just imagine. You’re beetling along happily across the wheat fields of the Washington desert after a freak spring snow, getting passed by giant fertilizer trucks every time you stop to take a picture of the earth and the light the light the light …

Highland, Washington

Winter wheat all ready to go

… and then suddenly the fields stop and the earth falls away, like this …

Floodplain for Half a Continent

The water of the mid-Rockies and the Okanagan all flowed here once, at once. One of the tiny wave ripples on the bottom of this river is 170 feet high. Light flows here now, and wind, and grass, and thought.

And after a few more fertilizer trucks thunder by on the endless shuttle between oil well and the earth you are there, at the waterfall…

Dry Falls, Washington

When these falls were active, their flow was greater than that of all the rivers in the world today, combined. The power is still here.

Even the water still flows, just, well, slowwwwwwwwly…

Not Quite Dry Falls

The earth is drying out, but it hasn’t quite turned to dust yet.

Walking down at the bed of the ancient flow is to walk under water as thin (or thick) as thought and breath. This is one of the oldest sites of human habitation on the North Eastern shore of the Pacific. An indigenous species of rhinoceros called this place home once. These people still do…

 Deer People

Umatillo Ridge, Dry Falls State Park

Some of the other creatures here live in the same spiritual space as the ancient waterfall itself…

 Coyote Rocks

Northeastern flank of Umatillo Ridge

I keep mentioning Umatillo Ridge. Here she is:

The Ridge, looking North-Northwest

When I find the ancient story that maps the ridge, I’ll let you know

To walk deep in the earth in this place that still carries the energy of water is a sacred experience. Same here…

A Greener Dry Falls

 Eyjan, Iceland

That rock is the northern equivalent of Umatillo Ridge. Here it is from within the horsehoe of its falls…


The last catastrophic flood of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river took place here only 3000 years ago. Those are Iceland’s sacred native birch and rowan forests in the foreground, catching the late morning sun at 9 a.m. 

As with Dry Falls, the water is still here…

 Botnstjörn Lake, Ásbyrgi

The cracks in the cliffs behind are home to the hidden people, who might less accurately be called elves. I spent a half hour trying to teach the ravens here to speak Northwest Raven. They listened, then tried to teach me to speak Icelandic Raven. I listened.

Ásbyrgi is one of the sacred hearts of Iceland today. In Washington, the visitor’s centre has been closed due to budget constraints created by a limited political ideology and by decreasing tourism created by a people abandoning the land for an electronic and concrete world. It’s time for a new story, one that is able to draw energy from Dry Falls again. Some people still remember how…

The Deer People

Leading the way

Blessings for Easter, everyone.

Next week, a bottle of Easter Wine from Oregon, and its lessons.

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