My Columbia River Collection: Roll On, Columbia, Roll On

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Before I left for San Francisco I spent some time along the Mighty Columbia River. For me—and for my garden—this is my happy place. I love the Bay Area and NorCal too, but the Northwest is home. Following are pictures from a trip to the Astoria, Oregon area and to Cascade Locks, Oregon.
Astoria looks at the Columbia as it enters into the ocean and Cascade Locks is where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains. It is also just above Bonneville Dam.
These scenes are sprinkled with lyrics from “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” written by Woody Guthrie. Hired by the Bonneville Power Administration, this song was recorded on an album of propaganda songs about the federal public works created to make hydroelectricity along the Columbia back during the early twentieth century.
The tune is set to “Good Night Irene,” ironically, the song which contained the lyric that inspired the author Ken Kesey to write Sometimes a Great Notion—a Northwestern classic about loggers.
Lower Columbia
Wikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, Washington State.
Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the ocean so blue
It’s roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Wikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, Washington State.

Tom Jefferson’s vision would not let him rest
An empire he saw in the Pacific Northwest
Sent Lewis and Clark and they did the rest
Roll on, Columbia, roll on

Confluence Project, Cape Disappointment, Washington State (designed by Maya Lin).
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea.
Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy, W
illamette and Hood River too
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Confluence Project, Cape Disappointment, Washington State (designed by Maya Lin).
It’s there on your banks that we fought many a fight
Sheridan’s boys in the blockhouse that night
They saw us in death but never in flight
Roll on Columbia, roll on!
Snake.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Digitalis sp with native bee.
Our loved ones we lost there at Coe’s little store,
By fireball and rifle, a dozen or more, 
We won by the Mary and soldiers she bore,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Leathery Polypody Fern, Polypodium scouleri.
Remember the trial when the battle was won?
The wild Indian warriors to the tall timber run
We hung every Indian with smoke in his gun
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Licorice Fern, Polypodium glycyrrhiza.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn

Roll on, Columbia, roll on!

Upper Columbia
At Bonneville now there is ships in the locks
The waters have risen and drowned the rocks 
Shiploads of plenty will steam in the docks
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Wind surfer.
On up the river is Grand Coulee Dam
The mightiest thing ever built by a man
To run the great factories for ole Uncle Sam
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
An island where the Native Americans used to leave the bones of their ancestors.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Bonneville Dam in the distance and smoke from forest fires.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
When Bonneville Dam was built it destroyed Celilo Falls where the Native Americans once fished. Although the falls are still gone, they’ve adapted their platforms and you see them from the sternwheeler up and down the river above the dam during the fishing season. Here you see a sister and her little brother carrying on that tradition on their grandpa’s platform.

Roll on, Columbia, roll on

Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Hope you enjoyed that little trip that jumped from the mouth of the Columbia River up past Portland to Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge. It may have seemed strange to see all of this on a gardening blog but as a descendant of both pioneers, and a native American woman from the state of Montana, it is hard for me not to see the garden around me everywhere no matter where I land.

Sleeping Bees

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If you drive from Portland, through the Columbia River Gorge, towards Idaho or Wyoming, you will see tons of sunflowers guiding you along the highways. Native sunflowers, some consider weeds now, almost pull you over the Rockies towards the prairies of North America. That is one way to look at it, as I choose to do so. I guess that others pragmatically see the seeds of these flowers getting stuck in the wheels of our vehicles, being flicked hither and thither as we drive about the place. Regardless of all of this, at least there is this caveat. It appears as though these blooms offer a soft resting place for the bees that we need so much. And if you are worried about these little guys in the image, we touched one, just to be sure, and it was alive. They were all in a very deep, deep sleep.
It was the kind of sleep I have been searching for during the last few years of my illness. It reminded me of the times when I could enjoy sleeping outside, under the stars, in the arid or mountainous areas of Oregon and Washington. Not afraid of my strength, but in a mood to cherish it. I no longer have that gift. Instead, I instinctively spend every moment looking over my shoulder—as all injured animals do.
That night the train pounded past our cabin at the campground, chugging up the other side of the small canyon and I rolled around outside, on a bench, in a sleeping bag. My husband sleeping soundly inside. At home, I usually use my garden to help me sleep, image by image, task by task, otherwise I focus on the physical pains. I can easily tire and fall asleep if I think about my garden. But that night, I thought only about the bees, tucked away into flower blooms only a few yards away.
My own garden seemed like a far off and unbelievable place—a dream. The bees sleeping in flowers was real at that moment and the image in my mind only intensified that feeling of the possible that only a child can have. And it felt magical. Shooting stars rolled by and I felt more free than I have felt in years, inside my experience, horrible as it may sometimes feel. I easily fell asleep then, like a child lost and not afraid in a wilderness. I wonder though now what bees dream, if they do.