View From Maryhill at Midday
By Mary Schlick
Near here somewhere is the spring that
William Clark described as resting place
on long trip home when no ships came
to rescue them at Columbia's mouth.
He'd climbed from river's edge by horseback,
I believe, to join his comrade Lewis on
the rounded butte above to view a startling
range of snowy mountains marching south.
Noon, midday, was time to find that promised
spring to water horses, woman, men. I want
to think this trembling locust shade and
pampering breeze soothed them as it does me.
Below this grassy spot a bench of brown
cured grass, then far below the river sparks
as sunshine hits the tiny scudding waves.
I see no sail, nor boat or barge.
On cliff across, deep shadows turn the
dark basalt to ragged pools of black and
lead the eye to dry plateau above which
will be green when wheat begins to sprout.
And to the west, Mount Hood (Wy'east to
those who trace their families back 10,000
years) sports filmy ruff of clouds. Its gleaming
August glaciers dispel my fears of drought.
Iowa-born, Mary Schlick has lived along the Columbia River or a tributary for most of her adult life. She writes and weaves baskets in the woods above the orchards near the East Fork of the Hood River.