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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Paul J. Lindholdt is an associate professor of English at The Canoe and the Saddle: A Critical Edition Kindle Edition. by.
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All understand the Chinook jargon — the most com- ical of all languages, if it can be called one, — con- taining words from most languages, and answering to the Pigeon English of the Chinese. Nothing of great substance in all this, but it rounds out your impression of the young man. He seems to have taken every opportunity to entertain his reader, whether in private correspondence or published book. The Jargon was a tool in the service of attention-getting, for Theo. Winthrop, and yet he was one of its better documentors! You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Linguistic diary Links My writing Videos. Winthrop October 28, Cancel reply Enter your comment here What kind of a son am I to worry about water quality when his father is dying of cancer?

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Harold, you see, taught me to fight for fish and birds and ecosystems. He started me hunting and fishing -- sports we gave up some years ago. He taught me to keep public lands public. What caused his bloom of cancer cells we will never know. On Williams Lake, fishermen cast bait from boats and banks. The most successful among them haul home stringers and creels of native trout, the orange flesh bright and firm.

The fishermen want their luck to last forever, just as immigrants and Indians hoped the sockeye salmon runs in the Snake River would never cease. At eight years of age I realized I would probably outlive my father, would have to undergo his death. And I was scared and angry over that injustice. I wanted to cry like the poet, "Do not go gentle into that good night! Our last day in camp, we drive high atop a ridge to get a new view of the land.

We are a feeling a bit dispirited that our holiday is at its end. Just then a jet bomber bellows past us, drowning the calls of chickadees and setting our teeth on edge. The blast sounds loud enough to fell a ponderosa pine, alien enough to make a cow elk lose her calf. He gripped it by its twin ends as he might have handled plow traces or bridle reins.

He walked as if he were plowing the land, his close-set eyes fixed so fine upon the willow crotch they almost crossed.

The Canoe and the Saddle: A Critical Edition

The willow wavered and hovered above the ground; walking with care he waited, concentrated, for the forked stick to dip. With a downward jerk it marked the spot. He wiped his hands in contentment. The backhoe came in next week and clawed down fourteen feet, after which I spent two days digging further, ninety cents an hour, and glad to have the work.

Nineteen feet below the earth, water began to pool around my shoes. Among the roots of alders and poplars, Walker Creek is sourcing, the liquid surfacing to become a legible trickle, inches deep and one foot wide. The water purls; it drops like notes of ancient music, quickening the willows and the grass. Small trout, hatched there or swum from Puget Sound, spook easily.

Their dark backs split the surface as they squiggle away. The earth is so spongy, they don't need to see me to detect me. Vibrations from my steps suffice.

The stream gathers force in the boggy acres owned by siblings Mike and Irma Mortenson, who shared a house on the hill across the highway. Their family held the acreage for many decades, admired it for the apple trees that gave good fruit without poison sprays. The first day we met, I got caught picking apples from their trees. Irma hollered from her front porch, "Hey! What do you think you're doing?

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Then Mike died too, the zoning around her home changed from residential to multiple, and Irma could not afford the property taxes. She faltered and fell into the apartment complex that rose from ashes of her Victorian home, another being toppled by the undertow from the booming wave in Seattle real estate. Once it emerges from the bottomlands of the Mortenson plantation, the trickle that originates from buried springs has become the two-foot-wide north fork of Walker Creek, filtered and renewed by seeping through thick vegetation in the valley bottom.

The water is clear.

The Canoe and the Saddle: A Critical Edition by Theodore Winthrop

There pink and silver salmon, named simply for the color of their flesh and skin, used to fin upstream to spawn. In water so shallow the dorsal fins of the fish broke the surface, and the ready bellies dragged. Eagles and ospreys congregated on the creek and river shores each fall. My father, a Seattle native, scooped up the fish as a boy with porous burlap gunny sacks that kept them damp till he got home. My more worldly mother thought his outdoor interests hicksville.

Dad dug ditches that drained the swamp and baffled spawning fish. In my dreams I have walked those ditches with my boy-father and found twenty-pound fish struggling as if fallen from apocalyptic skies. Below Mike and Irma's house, slaughterhouse wastes drained into Walker Creek.

The operation was planned that way, just as factories have been situated strategically for centuries. Old man Mortenson carted beef and hog carcasses to Seattle to be cut and wrapped. Contemporary accounts tell how the slaughtering took place. When a sledge cocked above a doorway fell, the skull-cap cracked, the stunned beef blundered to its knees, and a walking razor in an apron sliced and turned the steerhide inside out.

He stripped the heavy hide to the floor, converting every black Angus or red Hereford into the marble of its own fat. The whitened steer appeared puzzled, blushing, wishing it were dressed. A second jockey hooked the jaw, jacked a handle, and raised the great weight roof-ward till the rear hooves appeared to be dancing a jig on the slippery killing floor. Water from Walker Creek, pumped in and flushed out, cleared the building of its ruptured bits and blood.

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Just below the slaughterhouse site, Walker Creek crosses Des Moines Memorial Drive and skirts the yard of a bungalow home. When kids in that house were growing up, they stretched a net for volleyball across the yard beside the water. Screaming with delight, they fetched out-of-bounds balls from the stream.


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But the kids flew the coop, the house grew quiet, and wild beavers dammed the creek and flooded the yard. County officials promptly destroyed the dam. The beavers rebuilt it. The persistent officials trapped the beavers and relocated them a dozen miles away. But those animals either padded their way back or else another pair chose to carry on the work, for a third sturdy dam appeared. At that point the landowners called a halt. The beavers, they said, would be allowed to build and stay.

The life & poems of Theo. Winthrop

Now the yard lies beneath the only bona fide beaver pond in Burien city limits. It is a welcome illusion that nature is reclaiming the land, the same illusion Harold wanted to achieve with his indigenous garden. His arching trellis above twin benches creates an entryway to the garden plot he began to plant.