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Sandstone Clifts

from Songs of Lewis & Clark by Sara Bouchard



Lewis: Friday May 31st 1805.

The hills and river Clifts which we passed today
exhibit a most romantic appearance.
The bluffs of the river rise to the hight of 300 feet
and in most places nearly perpendicular;
they are formed of remarkable white sandstone
which is sufficiently soft to give way readily
to the impression of water;

The water in the course of time
in decending from those hills and plains
on either side of the river
has trickled down the soft sand clifts
and woarn it into a thousand grotesque figures,

which with the help of a little immagination
and an oblique view
at a distance are made to represent
eligant ranges of lofty freestone buildings,
having their parapets well stocked with statuary;

collumns of various sculpture
both grooved and plain,
are seen supporting long galleries
in front of those buildings;
in other places on a much nearer approach
we see the remains or ruins of eligant buildings;

[and] a number of the small martin
which build their nests with clay,
and which were seen hovering
about the tops of the collumns
did not the less remind us
of some of those large stone buildings in the U' States.

the thin stratas of hard freestone
intermixed with the soft sandstone
seems to have aided the water
in forming this curious scenery.
As we passed on it seemed as if
those seens of visionary inchantment
would never have and end;

for here it is too that nature presents
to the view of the traveler
vast ranges of walls of tolerable workmanship,
so perfect indeed that I should have thought
that nature had attempted here
to rival the human art of masonry
had I not recollected that she had first began her work.


from Songs of Lewis & Clark, released November 8, 2008


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Sara Bouchard Richmond, Virginia

I am a multi-disciplinary artist and songwriter with a strong foothold in American roots. As an artist, I investigate ways to interact with and represent the American landscape through song. As a musician, I perform original and traditional tunes - drawn from bluegrass, old-time, jazz, country and blues - with my band SALT PARADE. ... more

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