Owls or Towers

spring 2013 304aIn the late 1950’s before the last concrete was poured finishing The Dalles Dam, several stones, covered in petroglyphs, were extracted from the basalt cliffs that were to be submerged. As the water rose to form a lake of what was once a raging  Columbia River, those rocks were set aside, protected, and eventually returned to the banks of the river near a site significant as a first people’s village.

Petroglyphs often represent things that figured prominently in the life of the painter.  Along with the birds on this rock, deer and  some abstract images appear. At I first interpreted the birds on this rock to be owls,  knowing them to be common in this area.  Later, as I wandered the shores of the lake formed by the dam, I turned toward where those rocks now rest and saw these electrical towers:

spring 2013 362a

And, I wondered if perhaps the birds on the rock were actually a prophecy of a demand for power and a demand for progress, that would take shape in steel and wire and eliminate the world as that artist knew it.


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