Exhibit News

Particles on the Wall is excited to announce upcoming exhibits!


The REACH Museum

June 29 - October 21, 2016.

The REACH Museum
1943 Columbia Park Trail
Richland, WA 99352
Sun & Mon: Closed
Tue - Sat: 10:00AM-4:30PM


REACH POTW Flyer.jpg


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Particles on the Wall 2nd edition from Healthy World Press


           Three days to Christmas.
           Choke out, starter engaged, blades cough, catch, and spin. The small plane taxies into
position, propellers thwacking. Cleared for take off, the engine roars, wings wobble. Flat-green
plane shrinks in the bullet-grey sky, droning south.
           Colonel Dime watched his pilot and the gauges, watched the military base fall away, a
small river twisting, the Yakima. He peered at his map, followed ridgelines and cliffs and then a
brown band of big river, the Columbia.
           His map, his window. "Follow that for now." He pointed to a chalky tributary labeled
Deschutes. Roaring engine, spinning blades. Mile after mile of basalt-rimmed coulee, bleached
grass and grey brush, scattered snow. Too many miles. "Nothing here."
           The plane circled, back to the north. Then up the Columbia. East.
           The river bent north, the plane continued east. Fields, snow smeared in furrows,
farmhouses, steep rise of the Blue Mountains. Again the plane made a slow curve back to the big
river. This time it followed choppy water north, bucked turbulence when they flew through the
rivercut gap.
           Crumbling cliffs, steep-banked brown and reddish black, drop to water. Sand dunes and
backwatered braids. They follow upstream west, south, then west again. Big flat in the horn of
the river. A few rows of trees and a smattering of buildings. Blackrock, full-powered river
crashing white. One long slope to the north. The Colonel marked his map. The plane circled
           We need water electricity and isolation is what the General had said. The bleaklands
below would do.
           Pilot’s voice crackled through headphones. “Seen enough?”
           “Damn right. But follow the river back. One last look.”
           Harsh land and sky rotate in an easy arc. Rough wind, big river, small bends of a smaller
river, they can see base, and land.
           The Colonel finished business and returned to his quarters: a bed, a light, a desk, a hot
shower. Wished for a shot of whisky and wrote his report.

           Sinuous platted waters of the Columbia, Chiwana. Flat eddies’ sheen grey as the dusk
           That was a hard winter and a bitter spring, long in coming. Our young men gone in the
war. Our clothing and our patience worn thin, we were hungry for more than patches of pale blue
           Coyote rabbit mocking magpie. Shocks of spent tule and cattail rustle, windblown
bitterbrush and sage in small lament. As fast as winter loosened its bite we packed up, ready to
follow the first roots, seeking newborn green.
           We joined up with relatives at the mouth of Crab Creek. Together we made our way to
the long slope Wahluke. We dug from sun-warmed rocky pockets there, felt the sun in our own
bones, we shared the foods and were grateful.
           When we got to the ferry there were soldiers. They seemed surprised to see us, talked
amongst themselves on the landing, directed us to stay back. They didn’t know anything about a
bunch of Indians crossing.
           We waited. Talked amongst ourselves. Randolph Siolah went up to them, explaining. But
they said no, we were not allowed to cross.
We talked together. We were all confused. The soldiers wanted us to go away from the
river, far from our places.
            Two of the soldiers came up to us. Told us to go away, right away. They went back to the
other soldiers. All of them watching us, fingering their guns.
            We argued amongst ourselves, unsure. I was frightened. We talked about going all the
way back, above the creek and north. Some thought the soldiers told us we couldn't cross
anywhere. Others said drive downriver, to White Bluffs, take that ferry.
            We never got to our places by the rapids. The soldiers made the farmers leave, put up
fences and patrolled. By summertime you could hear their machinery, you could see clouds of
dust from many places. We all suffered that spring.

--By Ellie Belew


This excerpt comes from As Though There Were No Tomorrow, a novel based on the life of a woman scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project. It takes place from December 1942 into the spring of 1943, when Hanford was chosen to be Site W within the Manhattan Project. Where better to consider our relations within and interconnection with the natural world than in a sacred place, now flooded, a toxic waste site that because of its very toxicity is protected habitat? Who better to make this journey of disconnection and connection than a woman who worked to create the Atom Bomb?