Spokane River, keepers!


It's been a hot minute since ya'll have delighted in the rockological sciences. I know- I was over here doing job stuff and having my lumbar spine laid open by a surgeon with the acuity of migrating albatross (which is some finely-tuned intelligence, folks). So, since we last spoke, some seriously dank s--- has been going down up here, in Spokane! I will be brief: I met this pair of women doing good things, was invited to a benefit dinner, went to the dinner, and had a braingasm all over the place. See Figure 2 for the event flyer.

There's this organization out here, in the rambling steppe of Eastern Washington, called the Spokane Riverkeepers. According to the guy on stage last Thursday, they are one of, like, 200 waterkeepers in the United States and like 50 in the western states alone! Unsure about those stats, as instead of researching the org itself I partitioned my time into compiling info on the rad series of speakers lined up for the evening. I'm gonna pause for a second to point out that this organization has legit funding and does some incredible river conservation and how did they populate their annual benefit lineup? Authors. Words. Poetry. Persons who stood in front of the hundreds of attendees and worked their fingers nervously at the edges of their books, poems, and short-stories, and smiled at us over the top of their carefully printed selections.

I don't have to convince you folks who powerful that s--- is. Ergo, the Spokane Riverkeeper knows how to play the conservation game. By that, I mean, they know that the key to any successful revitalization lies in the milquetoast efforts of pandering with outdated paradigms about the top-down method of restoration. By this, I mean the attempts to restore areas with money and laws, only to have them be sold back into industrial use after they regain the resources that are valuable. Think soy farmers, palm oil deforestation, and subsistence hunting of endangered wildlife. I think of these tactics as "bandaids." Maybe you do, too.

So, today I submit for your braining the following three speakers from last week. They're goodies. Sidebar: there is one image from each author's public appearances, and one from where I was sitting, at the Trout Unlimited table (Table #6). Just to give you a feel for the event. Ok, now get to it!

#1 The Eager Beaver Guy

Ben read from his book, Eager, about air-dropping beavers to their reintroduction sites. Which was done successfully! Check it out, him out, and educate someone on the value of beavers in ground efforts at water conservation and fire damage control.

I actually don't know if the book talks about the fire-control bit, but it's something we learned in higher ed. so I am clinging to the idea that what I learned is either A) still applicable or B) was worth the six and a half years of toil.

In any case! Read! Learn! Laugh! And enjoy Eager, by Ben Goldfarb.

#2 The Poet

Ellen Welcker was the last reader to go up. The Salish School of Spokane had a performance, and a gentleman from the Spokane Tribe of Indians also spoke about reintroducing the salmon upstream, but of the authors who read, Ellen was the last. Admittedly, this placement made the ringing truth of her words more lasting. The rhythm of poetry is something to be savored, after all. Honestly, I remember which of her works she read from. There was one titled "Things They Pulled From the River" that listed exactly what you'd expect from an urban and historically vital riverway. It stands to reason that all of her books and publications are worth a look.

#3 The Perspective Story

Jack Nisbet read a section of his book, Sources of the River (I'm like 85% sure that was the one). The excerpt related a historical account of some old white guy who blazed the settling of Spokane by learning all there was about the river. At least, that was the gist of what I got from the reading. I don't mean to impugn on his telling, but in my defense, there was an awful lot going on that night as his was the first reading so what can you do? The tale was about the man misunderstanding the zombie fish left over at the end of the annual salmon run, about following the people of the land to always move on to the next species during its time of harvest, about seeing things differently and realizing that this is the key to success in any environment.

Powerful s---*. Look him up.

A menagerie of other talented trail-blazers were there, but I simply don't have the time to tell you about them all just now. You'll just have to wait for their episodes on the Rockosophy podcast.

With love & nothing else,

Rock Rat

*Wow, I do tend to curse more when I am pumped, don't I? Thanks for pointing that out, love, but I'm keeping it in here to emphasize my fly-from -the-seat-of-my-pants flavor of authorship.

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