Into the Wind: Tales & Poetry of the Memaloose Hills
By Richard Benner
Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth....He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it.*
Richard Benner spent 15 months of the pandemic in a small house in the Memaloose Hills of the central Columbia Gorge. He walked the trails countless times and often left the trail to track an animal or find a favorded bird. As Momaday exhorted, he gave himself up to his beloved landscape. And he kept a journal that became Into the Wind.
The Wind tells of moisutre-laden clouds from the Pacific mixing with warm, dry air of the high desert to form phantasmic clouds. Of epic winds that send trees dancing toward the east and grasses surfing to the west. The Wind speaks of theNative Peoples' long presnec in the middle Gorge and the gifts coyoute bestowed upon them. Birds and flowers surprise and delight at every turn. He planted oaks and pines for each of his grandchildren so they could share his enchantment of the middle gorge.
The Wind closes with a Memaloose dream:
"I see the bullfrog's shadow puppet move beneath the ice on the willow pond. I catch chipping sparrows bouncing slowly in the tall grass, bowed by the snow. One flies to my outstretched finger and returns my gaze, its head tilted with curiosity."
Into the Wind will appeal to any lover of the Columbia River Gorge
* Narvarre Scott Momaday, Kiowan Author