Friday, June 29, 2012

Song for the Penobscot

The now happening restoration of the Penobscot River is not just an historic event in our lifetime, but is told in the millenial-old origin stories of the Penobscot Indian Nation, namely the story of Glooskap and the Frog.

So it seemed fitting that this event could use a song, which you can listen to here.

The photo above was taken the week of June 18 by Steve Shepard of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Orono, Maine. It shows the excavators using hydraulic jack hammers to remove the concrete crest of the Great Works Dam on the Penobscot River in Old Town and Bradley, Maine. It will take all summer to remove the concrete and timber cribs at Great Works and bring the river back down to its natural ledges. Next summer, work will begin to remove the Veazie Dam at the Penobscot's head of tide at Eddington Bend, about 8 miles below Great Works.

While I would like to proudly claim "Song for the Penobscot" was written especially for removing the Great Works Dam, that is not exactly true. The basic elements were written in 1992 with additions in 2004. I found the files in my hard drive the other day while looking for something else and finally completed the song.

The other night it struck me the brisket of the song follows closely the story of Glooskap and the Frog. This was the song meant to celebrate the release and restoration of the Penobscot River -- I just didn't know it in 1992 or 2004.

Now the Penobscot Restoration is happening for real. It is no myth. The Frog who sat in the river, keeping it all for himself, is being vanquished every day, bit by bit, with every bop and bap of those six inch wide hydraulic jack hammers which make such a sweet sound.

All thanks and praise to Don Shields and Arthur Taylor. They made this happen.

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