Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wooly Dogs and Old Photos

Discovering new information about the Chinook and Cowlitz Indians has become a deep seated interest of mine. In the an upstairs wall of our farmhouse (which is beside the Columbia River) we found a small faded photo of a two children sitting on a large cedar log washed up on a beach. There are more logs and driftwood washed up behind them on the beach and then what looks like a stand of perhaps cottonwood or alder trees. The two children, a boy and a girl could be sister and brother, her being maybe six and he being not more than a year and a half older than her.
Brother, I will call him, is hold in his arms a small size black and white dog. I've just finished reading that the Chinook village dogs which they had in the hundreds were beagle like looking and most were black and white. After read that I got up, walked into the room where the photo was found and where it sits now on a dresser and sure enough I see the dog is small and black and white. This makes it highly likely that this could have been a Chinook Village dog. The photo looks as though it could have been taken at the time our house was built. 1903.
This picture and the children in it and the beach they are on intrigue me. I believe those children where standing not too far from our house. Perhaps they lived here. Tonight for the first time, after many times of looking at the photo notice that Sisters' homespun shabby little dress is wet on the front and Brothers' rolled up coveralls are also wet. They'd been playing in the river.

I want to know who these children were for they are most likely gone from this world, but I wonder, did they run up the same porch steps that I often sit on in the afternoon when the sun is warming it? Did they thin spindly but strong legs climb the stairs to bed and race down them in the morning? They might have lived in this house but lived in a different world. No road with cars buzzing by, no separation of road from river. I bet they ate lots of salmon and saw on occasion Chinook or Cowlitz Indians go by in their canoes. There were not many left by then but there were some and a canoe was still the best transportation on the river. Steamboats were going at that time. I have seen a photo of an Indian man and wife paddleling their canoe with a steamboat in the background.

About the dead goat. Dean was talking with Sheryle McCoy who lives about half a mile down the road. She told him they had goats now. Could be one of theres. Dean didn't ask if they had one missing. I can't image though that it would have walked on the road for that half mile or more but you never know. It could have been in the night when there is hardly any traffic.

The wind blew this morning and I laid in bed listening to lit. It's great, like listening to a conversation; an interesting one and not having to participate but just be there and listen. I watched a pair of crows trying to manuver in the wind while chasing a march hawk. They must have seen it catch a mouse from the field. And yesterday I saw a little bird, sparrow? giving a hard time to a bald eagle; both flying, the little bird diving down toward it then manuvering away. Protecting a nest? Oh, and on the same day I saw a crow carrying a twig; sprucing up last years nest. Amazing what goes on in the air!

So, who are these two children and their dog and where are they standing? They are both smiling for the camera. Their hair cut off short no doubt by a pair of sheers in the house...our house? Did their hair fall on this old wooden floor? That young hair that grew so long ago. Intriguing thoughts all of them.

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