After some debating with myself yesterday morning, I decided to spend my day at Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument. Had I known that I would fall so in love with the place, I would have planned multiple days, but instead, I spent more time in a single day than I have anywhere since starting this living out of my car thing.
The initial debate was about weather concerns, as lots of rain and generally unpleasant weather was on the forecast for the day. However, the weather actually made the experience even more magical than I could have possibly anticipated.
I started on the North/West side of the monument, where I fell absolutely in love. From there, I also continued onto the East side, to Windy Ridge Viewpoint–the closest viewpoint to Mt St Helens’ crater that you can drive to. Just in case I wasn’t already completely in love, I also ended up on the South side, checking out the lava flows on that side, including Lava Canyon, which was quite wonderful.
Eventually, the rain came much stronger, and the mountains told me it was time to leave. I really didn’t want to, but the mountains seemed to be saying it was time for me to go after admiring them for so long. I made my way back to camp, arriving after 10 PM. Thankfully, one spot was still open!
I leave with this thought that I have arrived at after sleeping on yesterday’s adventure, followed by a whole gallery of images I took:
The Earth speaks amazing words of love, if just we stop to listen to the birds, bears, and bees; if just we listen to the trees and bushes, and the lakes, streams, stones, and mountains. The glaciers and flows of lava scream of good tidings when we stop to listen to their words. Yet we, as humans, have the audacity to call the Earth’s love-making bad and terrible, while we name our own destruction and abuse good and respectable. We send a hundred engineers to stop the continuing creation of the mountains, as the Earth waits patiently for its time to undo our greatest feats. Dams and unnatural rivers halting the ongoing creation of new faces; false forests that even the birds and squirrels would rather avoid; things that don’t belong, but which man, in his selfish deafness to the Earth, thinks ought to be.
I have heard the trees telling tales of times before modern man; speaking stories of their ancestors who selflessly gave their spot in life for their new offspring to flourish. I have heard the stones tell tales older than the writings of man; beautiful tales, powerful tales. For the love the Earth shows man, it pains me at times to see the complete disregard man gives in return. Exploring such a selfless place, I am humbled beyond words as the mountains welcome me upon its scars; call me from the emptiest places of civilizations; just to have me take in their beauty and love–to sit and listen to their tales, admire their every side, and feel the pain of their losses at mankind’s hands.
I consider Mt St Helens and the surrounding area one of the most beautiful places on earth. Under-appreciated. I would challenge anyone to spend a day there, and after listening to the mountains and all of the wild that calls them home, not find God’s love expressed in ways defying your greatest understanding. If you fail, I would wager that you simply did not listen well enough.