June Camas Lily duo, a signature species of the Northwest [ click photo for next . . . ]
(Camassia quamash) (VI.2.2008) . . .

Quamash, a pit-cooked bulb similar in taste to a
sweet potato, was offered by the Nez Perce to a nearly
starved Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the men of
the Corps of Discovery in 1805 after a snowy September
crossing of the Bitterroots. It probably saved them,
and yet few of the present inhabitants of the same
country 200 years later know either the plants, the
story, the food, or the even incredible beauty--just
the color is in a singular, signature way, unique--
of this remarkable species.

Following ther story of Camas leads invariably to the story
of the great Nez Perce tribe of the Pacific Northwest, which
in turn leads to the dark and traghic story of the 1877 war.
The short documentary below offers a bit of background, albeit
from the European-American perspective of the victor . . .

WATCHING: 1877 Nee-Me-Poo (Nez Perce) 1,900k flight from Wallowas to Bear Paw http://bit.ly/10Ebtrz Story of betrayal & the violence of empire

On the road in the American Northwest.


for Owenuma Blue Sky

What’s a weed but the unwanted noise
of another man’s music.

But beyond the margin,
that little strip of uncultivated life
to the side of a well-traveled road,
rank growth is my splendor.

Everything needs a place to be,
and here, even the weeds feel at home,
a free space where the troublesome
have gathered together, un-

folding their own songs,
f l o w e r i n g
in peace.

(URNERLAND, the Alps,
Winter of 1987)

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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1999 - 2014 picture-poems.com
(created: VI.1.2008)