With a Little Help From My Architect Friends

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The Accidental Cootchie Mama

Excuses are superfluous when invited to drive the pinched length of the Columbia River Gorge. Verdant green drips from every vertical surface. Slender fissures in rock yield to tumbling waterfalls. The roadway cantilevers over a rabid, fizzing cauldron of river, droplets racing themselves to a union with the Pacific. Vertigo evaporates with eye contact, drinking images resplendent with wet, with ooze, with confounding drama where it joins the desert and is sucked dry.

The face of Nature’s preening wasn’t what mattered to me when my architect friend Alice asked me to drive from Portland, through the Gorge, to the Maryhill Museum of Art. My notions were taken with History, the ghostly echoes of bedraggled explorers, Lewis and Clark and their whoring, whooping Corps of Discovery. I strained my ears to hear them, shuffled my feet to (maybe) stand where they once did. With a weaving, distracted…

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