The Scars We See
By Kristy Athens
The perspective from Maryhill Museum is staggering. One can see for eons—before there was a barge on the river. Before there was a bridge, and a dam upriver, and a dam downriver. Before grain silos loomed like giants on the south bank. Before there were trucks on a highway, and a clot of fast-food restaurants and cheap motels in a place called Biggs. Before power lines laced the ridge and extended to California. Before barbed wire strands separated this part of the hill from that. Before asphalt cut up the draws and encrusted the river’s edge. Before mammals walked the Earth, and some became deer, and the deer made paths, and the deer paths became Indian paths, and the Indian paths became wagon trails, and the wagon trails became roads. Before other mammals became people, and some of the people became white men, and some of the white men became engineers, and some of the engineers figured out how to make a bigger, straighter road, and other engineers figured out how to cap the river with concrete, and other engineers figured out how to span the river, and build high-tension electric wires, and railroads, and barges, and owner-operated semis, and grain silos. And other engineers learned how to split an atom but not how to keep its resulting poison from the river.
With all these scars, in this time and place—what’s the big deal about windmills?
Kristy Athens is a freelance writer and editor who lives on a small farm near Husum, Washington. Her professional and creative work has been published in a number of magazines, newspapers and literary journals. She coordinates the Plein Air Writing Exhibition.