Well, after the histories are finally written, a tale shall be told, passed down from father to son and from mother to daughter, of a small band of river keepers, huddled on the banks of the mighty Columbia in Clatsop County; of how, armed only with guile and moxie, they defeated a rapacious, lucre-sotted, foreign invader bent on seizing their lands as their own in order to conduct trade in a dangerous and addictive substance procured from hostile realms far away. An endeavor that would have defiled the river and skies and the very land the people had labored so hard to shield from loss.

And the tale shall be told of the importance of plain speaking. "Protect means protect," and "the size of a thing cannot be diminished by merely calling it small," they shall counsel. And in the waning days of the first month of the year, braced against the cold wind and biting rain, they shall come together and build a great fire and tell of how, at this time, in this place, the tide turned and though their ancestors could not know it, they were soon to prevail, preserving for their children's children's children the spirit of this magnificent place.

Marc Auerbach



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