Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney. (Courtesy of Trinity University Press)
Living on Earth revisits its first installment of the series "Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape," based on the book of the same title edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney. In this first installment, Oregon writer John Daniel muses on the word “cascade.”
CURWOOD: Forty-five American writers are helping us get to know this place we call home a little bit better in a new book called “Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape.” It’s basically a dictionary of hundreds of unique and unusual features of the vast American countryside. We’ve invited some of the contributors to “Home Ground” to share definitions with us. And this week it’s Oregon writer John Daniel reading his definition of a signature feature of his part of the country: Cascade.
The cascades of the Columbia River formed several centuries ago when a massive slide filled a channel in the mid Columbia Gorge presented Louis and Clark’s core of discovery with a three miles stretch of chutes and falls boiling in a most horrible manner, according to William Clark’s journal.
Rafting or boating the gorge was the last leg of the Oregon Trail for many early immigrants. Some lost all they owned to the Cascades and some lost their lives. Now drowned in slack water behind Bonneville Dam this reach of river gave the Cascade Range its name.
CURWOOD: John Daniel lives and writes in the hills just outside of Eugene, Oregon. His definition of “Cascade” is in the book “Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape,” edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney.
[MUSIC: Don Williams “Till The Rivers All Run Dry” from ‘Don Williams: Anthology’ (UMG Recordings – 2000)]
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