A wild disjunction reigns at an overview of what was the Columbia River. She Who Watches gazes eastward over still backwaters, Lake Celilo formed by The Dalles Dam. She peers over corridors of modernist motion along with a myriad of other spirit beings, images in stone painted and inscribed by the indigenous peoples of the mid-Columbia region. The high-water survivors of other innumerable images inundated in the 1950s.
Coal trains regularly rock by with urgency, China awaiting delivery of raw power. On the lake, pushed and shoved, barges bear freighted goods up and down. On the hills and spanning canyons march power-towers with drooping wires and wheeling wind turbines. Across the waters, Interstate 84 cuts through basalt cliffs, connecting all points west and east, Portland to Idaho, following the rough path of the old Oregon Trail.
We ask: What and how now does She watch? Do we see with her? Or are we content to look into her face, her masking, her patience. And with due respect for her presence, seek a kind of knowing.