Spiritual Technology Part 3

The Columbia River rolls to the sea, despite the attempts of Woody Guthrie to turn it into a loaf of bread, a pound of bologna, and an atomic bomb. (Read about Woody selling his soul here.) From the Rockies to the desert and then into the cedars and sand dunes, it carries the waters of many spiritual rivers down through the throat of the Columbia Gorge and, in the end, brings the desert to tidal water. Each river adds its own spirit to the flow. Each river draws its spirit from its own land. In no particular order…The John Day brings the blood of the world …


The Palouse brings the heart, story, and sacred medicine…


The Wenatchee brings the place where birds come to earth at the same place that men come to the sky …


The Methow, the Kettle, the Tulameen, the Okanagan and the Similkameen bring bright gravels that have run under ponderosa pines in starlight, some on trading routes that have lain there since the ice melted 12,000 years ago…


Okanagan River at Gallagher Lake

The Chelan brings the sky, where the Cascades fold up against the ancient rock that rims the basalt floods east of the volcanoes…


Lake Wapato, above Lake Chelan

The Yakima brings the loess and light of the Horse Heaven Hills, and a sky with no distance …kiona

The Horse Heaven Hills, Kiona

The Youngs brings cedar and huckleberry …


All of them, and many more, including the Snake, the White Salmon, the Spokane, the San Poil, the Kootenay, that draws down the cold glare of the Redfish, the Ashnola that drains down from ancient volcanoes and the unglaciated Cathedral Range, and so many others, large and small, flow out together to the sea, not as water, but as spirit. They speak the land, together. And what do they say of the land? Ah, nothing that we can hear, but you can go where they speak it, and you can walk the sand and you will feel it rise up to you through your footsteps.


 “Land” and “water” are the wrong words for a spiritual conversation like this, because these things are spirit alone. Wouldn’t it be great to have photographs from each of the rivers that lend their hearts to this conversation and to make a sacred object of them, with pages that you can turn!

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