Earlier this month, I took a quick trip south to the border of Washington. White Salmon, to be exact. I have referenced this area before and have shared previous excursions with you photographically through Instagram and Facebook.
I feel extremely fortunate to have been born there. In fact, I’m a fourth-generation descendant. My great-grandparents homesteaded the area after meeting at a logging camp in Underwood, WA. This in and of itself is a great story for another time and another audience, perhaps.
Growing up there, I couldn’t wait to get away, and yet every time I came home, I felt this longing and connection to a place. This place seeps into me and restores parts of me that I sometimes forget existed. As a youth, my dog and I would wander the Jewitt canyon near our home, building dams on the creek, forts in the boulder outcrop, imagining my own version of My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George. With the power of hindsight, I’m able to look at my life there and appreciate the freedom and quality of life that I enjoyed.
Horticulturally, I took so much that is there for granted. The profusion of wildflowers that will carpet the plateaus along the river in the coming weeks was just commonplace. I remember collecting grass-widow (Olsynium douglasii) bouquets for my grandmother while my dad checked the lumber kilns on the weekends. I cringe at the thought of picking them now. Olsynium douglasii carpet the open areas of the plateaus beginning in March. They are the heralds of spring there. A member of the Iridaceae family, they are also known as Sisyrinchium douglasii.
I am reminded of William Wordsworth’s poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud:
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden Daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: –
A Poet could not but be gay
In such jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the shew to me had brought:
For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.