Monday, July 21, 2014

Mt. Saint Helens...

It had been twenty years since the explosion. As I trekked along winding trails, much of the area surrounding Mount St. Helens looked as lifeless as the surface of the moon. Billions of board feet of never-to-be-sawed old growth took two postures as it lay rotting and bleaching: it was either neatly stacked in one direction--like it was felled by design, or it was criss-crossed like pick-up-sticks. The latter was caused when entire stands of trees were uprooted by the fire and brimstone of a blast greater than twenty-five atomic bombs, and then coming to rest in a heap when gravity resumed control. Washington State's revolving climate was slowly returning centuries old timber to dust

Ringing the shores of Spirit Lake hundreds of feet below me were thousands more logs. Some of them as thick as I am tall. I was told it would take one-hundred years before they would become water-logged and sink. All around me, multiple square-miles of topsoil had been blown away exposing Helens' gray skull of granite. An earthquake that registered 5.1 triggered the volcano's detonation, and Mt. Saint Helens' summit was reduced by 1,300 feet in an instant. In the aftermath she looked like a bowl of ice-cream with a big scoop gone.

It's hard to believe it has been nearly fourteen years since I was there. My hiking companion, Joe Martin, took a picture of me standing on the splintered, weathered end of a log that jutted out over the side of a ridge that falls away. I painted a watercolor of the picture and relived the adventure with each stroke of the brush. As you can see, I changed the color schemes and composition a bit. But all-in-all I was pleased with the way it turned out…


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