Maya Lin at Cape Disappointment

Okay readers…I’m on the road posting messages from an iPad, and tho I love this little device it isn’t a bloggers best friend…so new vacation format: a paragraph of “discourse” and then all the photos. While in Astoria (R with the Oregon Arts Commission) we visited one of the five sites that are part of Maya Lin’s “Confluence”…commemorating the journey of Lewis & Clark in 1805-6…a journey that changed our world and began the obliteration of the natural world of America’s western native people. A hard thing to memorialize, a glorious journey, discovering the pacific ocean, a beautiful world on the precipice. The brilliance of Maya Lin’s work for me is her way of letting you slowly discover why you’re there, of letting the Narrative and the emotion build.

The place we visited is the place where Lewis and Clark first saw the pacific ocean and Lin leads us there along a cement path where the cement has been mixed with oyster shells. It’s a board walk but the boards are of a cement mixture with words and measurements incised. The words tell the tale of the journey and a series of measurements tell us how far/how long/how high. After we see the ocean we walk to a “grove” along a path inscribed with the blessing of the native people written for the dedication of this place. The “grove” itself combines stainless steel and drift wood logs. This place is WELL worth the drive off the beaten path.















  1. Please write more about the Confluence project! This is great to see. With Maya Lin’s influence, both as juror and as a leading designer, on Michael Arad’s WTC memorial, she’s super relevant just now. But the project’s not nearly as visible as it should be!

    The text fragments also at least superficially recall those used at the Archives building, many of which are about the Oregon Trail – another crossing.

  2. thanks bonnie for telling me about this & sending this earlier blog entry. very beautiful & moving. sandra & i will make a point of investigating it further next time we get to astoria. also talked with royal about his studio that you had told me about. he said ‘next time you ar in astoria call me, my name is in the phone book’! dave

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