In my country, the rivers are born in the mountains. Here is born the Missouri, the Columbia, the Fraser and all their ancestors and all their daughters.
This particular mother is the Cascades: a sea bed melted in the deep earth and lifted into the sky by a younger sea. Look at its wave break in a crest of foam.
This is one of the old ones of the Columbia, the Washaptum. Here, the mountains become water again. Note how they turn to eggs of stone. Look how the current is the flick of a salmon’s tail. Look how the sun comes in waves. This is the wave trough. It is like the call of a whale.
Look how the water and the rock braid together in these depths. This is the deepest floor of the sun.
Look how water and sun and stone and sea mingle and part and mingle again in these depths. That’s how it’s done.
Since the beginning of civilization, long before the pharaohs, Owhi’s people, the Pisquouse, came here to meet the salmon the mountains were calling out of the distant Pacific where they fed on the sun. This is the power song. This is where fish make people.
Come, they called.
Come and be born.
These are the eggs of humans, as the mountains make them.
This is a man rising from the stream to breathe his sun.
This is what he sees when he looks back to his birth. This his mind and heart. These are his children’s children’s children’s children, calling for him to help them be born.
This is what we do here in Cascadia.
We are being born. Sometimes it means writing stories about all of this on our ancestral rocks, just as the pines do. Here the fish are born from the mind that is born from minding the fish.
Everything else is the dying. Does this sound fanciful to you? OK. What about this?
Poisoning the earth down the road from my house, in the Columbia Headwaters at Head of the Lake.
Maybe you like your royal gala apples with poison. When Woody Guthrie, the Traitor, sang his song, “Roll on Columbia…”
This is the impounded river: a chain of shipping locks full of southern, warm water salmon-egg-eating-fish.
… he bragged that the Columbia River, the great salmon river of the world, would live on in the electrical grid, translated into pure energy. That’s part of that above. Here’s some more, on the Okanagan Lake Shore:
That’s what these stones …
… look like after Woody’s betrayal. Let us love each other again.
Let us be the children of the mountains again.