...The decisiveness...and remorse...

Alexander Volenski


The 'LINK' center.

Mount Rainier: Chapters 1 & 2...Timelines/Light Messages, of the book...'The Mountain'.
Glacier Basin: Chapter 3...a day hike from camp...nice views.
Summer Land: Chapter 4...a place that meets the Wonderland Trail.
Tipsoo Lake: Chapter 5...an evening at an alpine lake near Mount Rainier.
A Poem/Places and People: Chapters 7 & 8...a poetical summery and some references to Mount Rainier.
Volenski's page: The 'home site' of all pages/books.
Empathic Expressions: The 'home site' of the series, world mythology and ancient legends; 18 locations.
Journeys 2: The home site of the book -- 9 chapters/fiction, romantic.

Mount St. Helens

The Mountain, (C)1994 (C)2005 A. Alexander Volenski
Unedited Excerpt

An August visit to Mount Rainier National Park;
a nature book in 8-chapters.

Chapter 6, Mount St. Helens

  The next few days following Tipsoo Lake, I spent relaxing at camp and writing,
typing a rough draft of the events and experiences up to this point.  I have
found it necessary to record many things while in the field, for there one often
finds a line of thought quite different to that which comes at home.  Sometimes
the simplest expression (recorded in the wilderness), that could not be found
after leaving the area, would be an expression which would trigger a vast and
expressive theme.  I also found a clearer inspiration writing in the field, it
seemed the energy away from the city environment was stronger, almost as though
the city was encased within some sort of enclosure, separate to what one finds
in the wilderness.
  After finishing the draft of my visit to Mount Rainier, Mattie and I decided
to leave this area for a day and drive south to Mount St. Helens.  It was
September 2nd and the weather man forecasted clear skies and hot temperatures.
Mattie was excited, and so was I, for neither of us had ever visited that National
Volcanic Monument of which we both had heard so much.  We wore our shorts, and
took along a little lunch, sunglasses, camera, binoculars, and a jug of water.
  The Dodge ran smoothly up over Cayuse Pass where we turned on to highway 123
which would take us out of the Park just passed the campground of Ohanapecosh.
From there we headed toward Packwood on highway 12 and to the small city of
Randle, where we would turn left onto route 25 which went to Mount St. Helens
National Park.
  The land near and around Randle was flat, a very wide valley with many farms
and large open stretches of land, where several ranches were that raised and
bred horses.  The Cowlitz River streams through this valley, and as we drove
west, I could smell the hay from the surrounding fields, whose color had now
faded from lush green to that dry grass tone.  This shade of decline with dead
grass and vegetation, seemed to reflect a deep ominous kind of allusion, as I
realized too, that the approach of frosty mornings would not be far away.  I never
preferred the autumn, of course for many it is a nice time of year, however, it
is to exact in its 'extinct character' for me to accept.  The thought of
extinction, along with things perishing or the fading, and the ebbing of life,
is not something that I find very desirable.  The seasonal change which occurs
with foliage falling, birds leaving, plants dead, trees standing naked, numb,
and spent, was never my cup of tea.
  The sinsiter and foreboding shades of autumn, have always made me feel
apprehensive, as though an impending apocalyptic storm was approaching, with a
deep and omniscient message.  A message or even, a yearly reminder that a
provoking force is present in the form of an autumn notice, an imminent and
impending notice.  Autumn's emissary, displayed at first in beautiful sprays
of color which dazzle the mind and emotions, seems like a sweet-sour kind of
event.  For on the one hand, the colors are spectacular, yet on the other, once
the colors are gone, what we see are just a lot of dead leaves and barren trees.
Autumn's emissary to me, is not really one that I find pleasing at all, for that
courier, I can only imagine to be like an immortal herald named Omen.  A cryptical
forewarning, this courier (Autumn's Emissary) may represent, linked to a message
of a kind, hidden within our subconscious selves, perhaps there are other ways
to view the character of autumn, ways in which mankind may-not-be looking,
or should be looking.
  There seems to be present a great imbalance, one that is expressed in many
forms, the simplest being, that we are taught that we live in a world of
impossibilities.  This 'impossibility form' is a mode we have been conditioned
to accept in our thinking, an example being the 'longevity pattern.'  A pattern
which we seem locked into, or have no control over, and that in itself is just
another form of 'impossibility thinking.'  Even though it may seem impossible
to hold autumn off, still one may wonder if autumn could be shortened or summer
lengthened.  We have seen that the human life span has been lengthened, and some
scientists have hinted that the human body should function longer than it does
presently.  The longevity form seems totally linked to impossibilities, however
that (impossibility link) must be dissolved and replaced with a form of 'it is
possible', as in living longer.  It is clear in my thinking that a great imbalance
occurred somewhere since the beginning.  An imbalance with far reaching
consequences and effects, consequences which effected our entire solar system.
This massive imbalance concept, is a direction in which we must look toward,
and perhaps an area one could start to look, would be something called,
'phase control'...
  As we drove along I began to wonder how Mount St. Helens would look as compared
to late autumn and winter; would it be desolate, bleak, and windswept?  We turned
onto route 25 and Mattie indicated that the Information Center of Mount St. Helens
would be down the road a ways.
  The Woods Creek Information Center, was our first exposure to Mount St. Helens
and what lay ahead.  There were books, pictures, video tapes, maps, and a Park
Person, a nice woman, who gave us an interpretive map which she marked to show
the sites for us to see.  In a few minutes we again were on our way.
  The road was paved, a curling climbing road with few straight stretches.
Eventually we passed Iron Creek, and at Wakepish Sno Park turned right onto 99
which would take us to Windy Ridge, the end of the road, where one has an
excellent view of the volcano, plus, there was an interpretive talk on the
Mount St. Helens eruption.
  Tall and beautiful timber, huckleberry bushes, lush green foliage, birds, grass,
flowers, lined the road as we drove along 99, the air was heating up, yet there
still was that cool spot here and there along the shaded areas.  The lane we
followed was dreamy, and like roads of old I've seen on film, where all seems
calm, gentle, no harshness.  Sort of like imagining a visit to grandma and
grandpa's...who have a little farm or cottage nestled away in the country.
  Mattie and I were filled with anticipation as we jaunted along, and our
expectations were building within us both as we neared the natural phenomenon of
Mount St. Helens.  Pictures or film could never capture an event or place the
way being there does, and that we both knew from the travels we both have had
in our lives.
  Within my own musing on erupting volcano's--I imagined such things as St. Elmo's
fire, that corposant ball of light that can float, whirl, twirl, and spin, as its
beam of light is drawn down into the bosom of earth.  Driving along in my silence,
I wondered, questioned, even attempted to theorize, what may have been down deep
in Mount St. Helens, which sparked such eruptive power over a decade ago.
  As we gained altitude, the surrounding vegetation began to thin out, and then
suddenly all vegetation ended; we had reached the 'devastation line.'  Bear
Meadow was the first viewpoint, the front-line.  Beyond here was a place I saw
as no-man's land, everything resembled the look of a giant battle field.  We were
still over 10miles away and could not see the mountain, but the devastation, the
undoing, had reached this far.  Looking down into a valley that extended for miles,
probably the Clearwater area, there was nothing but a terrain...'somthing one may
find on the desert,' barren were the rocks and ridges.  This was more desolate to
me, than any forest burned region I've seen.  The scale of destruction extended
without interval, nothing seemed (to have been) able to impede, halt, or even
hide, from the force released that day of the eruption.
  We both now looked toward the east, where Mattie and I could see Mt. Adams at
12,307ft, all snow covered and majestic.  As I looked at Mattie, and back to
the surrounding barren terrain, and then to Mount Adams, I felt a strong and
silent 'expression of remorse' which seemed to be present in a multitude of ways,
and with that remorse a clear sense of regret.  For the viewed comparison between
the Mt. Adams area in the distance, and the now Mount St. Helens area in front
of us, was truly a paradoxical illustration.  It was hard to believe that where I
now stood, only a short time ago had looked the same as that view of Mount Adams.
What I now saw were inconsistant landscapes, contradictory, dissenting, opposing,
even disagreeable in nature 'the contrast between these two mountains,' and
to me that was paradoxical.  I then realized that a paradox could carry an
emotional form of regret, an emotional form attached to the past.  I began to
understand that to overcome regret, one must look to a positive future.
  We moved on down the road, the sun was very bright and hot, there was no shade,
and the wind dry, everything for as far as one could see was within a critical-zone
that was pensive and serious.  Soon on the right we reached the Meta Lake Miner's
Car, all rusted and smashed, the roof crushed in, and it seemed very sterile and
weightless within its shrouded guise; which was seen by all who passed this way.
I didn't stop to have a closer look at the car, it seemed more than my emotional
self wanted to take in at this time, the family who owned the car were taken the
day of the eruption.  I suddenly felt much sorrow, I didn't know if the sadness
was from what happened, or from others that were now here, or simply a reflection
of my own identity to me.  I believe there is much to understand about sorrow.
Sorrow in many ways is difficult to accept, or understand, and I feel that part
of our persona is easier to acknowledge, when one is with someone who is close,
or with a friend who will share the emotions felt at that time.  For with that
sharing, two people can gather a helping strength within which is 
natural and pinnacle to their understanding of sorrow and all that it represents.
  Next we came to Independence Pass, where one sees Spirit Lake and the thousands
of broken and splintered trees which float upon its water.  Looking down at the
lake, I thought I saw sail boats fluttering in the wind, but when I searched
them out with my binoculars, what appeared at first to be sailing craft, turned
out to be small white clumps of earth that pointed up out of the ruffled water
of the lake.  This was a very curious thing, perhaps in some distant future place,
sail boats ride the waves, embrace the wind, and kiss the water, as they travel
upon the breezy clean surface of that Spirit Lake.
  We drove from Independence Pass, and up to Cedar Creek, I asked Mattie if we
should stop.  She requested we drive on to Windy Ridge, that the devastation,
destruction and ruin, were 'a little much.'  For as far as the eye could see,
all was stark, bereft and wanting.  We both could feel a deep penetrating silent
anguish, almost mournful it seemed to me.  I tried to define this very low tone,
and had great difficulty in doing so, it seemed we now were in a vast-void,
where there was fear, and immense lacking, or need.  I felt something in my
human nature tremble, quiver, even shiver.  This area radiated a strong anguish
and distress, one that my mind unconsciously wanted to block out.  The muffled
intonation that I felt, I found no words for, as we drove along.
  The strong and solid force which emerged everywhere, filtered through me,
and seemed to reach far into that principality of my soul.  As it did, I 
realized that the positive self I have, was calling and needed to be recognized.
So I began to look for the affirmative, the constructive, the beneficial spirit,
and even soul, that resided here now in its assenting form.  I saw huckleberry
bushes, alders, many small plants, some flowers, large reforestation areas,
with young firs waist high, birds flying in the sky, and that deep foreboding
tension vanished.
  The earth in all its imperishable constance was rebuilding Mount St. Helens.
Earth's matron of nature was here and present, residing and engaging to heal
this ailing and yearning landscape.  I felt a great hope was present, with all
its 'promise, trust, and desire.'  I now recognized and understood how (presently)
important it was to think, speak, and act in the affirmative.  For there dwells
within our positive thoughts and actions, a reality which exists naturally, one
that is (will be) always present.  Our authentic presence, and our pilgrimage
toward consistent positive awareness, helps us rise above all else, to a site
where we can behold a truer (complete) reality within our genuine understanding.
  Mattie and I parked the Dodge at Windy Ridge, and walked to the open air
Interpretive Center where the spokes-person was beginning her talk.  The view of
Mount St. Helens from here is very near.  One can see what remains of the mountain
after the eruption; the opening, cavity, crater, is extraordinary.
  In March 1980, earthquakes began and continued for weeks, and during that
time a bulge began to grow on the side of the mountain.  In May, on the day of
the eruption, there was an earthquake which measured 5.0 (approximate).  That
tremor shook the now large protrusion (bulge) on the side of the mountain, sending
it all down to Spirit Lake.  When the bulge moved forward from the force of the
quake, it released the pressure from below, thus, a tremendous explosion occurred.
The force which came from that explosion, it is said, created a shock wave 24miles
wide, and that wave traveled over 200mph and built in momentum to a maximum of
600mph; the wave was felt 17miles away.  Everything in the immediate area of the
shockwave path was blown over, all the forest was laid down in one great push.
  All the timber around Spirit Lake was blown to the ground, and then the side
of the mountain slid into the lake.  The force from that giant landslide, sent
the water of the lake rushing toward the far end, of course the squall from
the explosion had already blown the forest down, and as the wall of water reached
the far hills, it traveled 800ft up.  When the water rushed back, it brought
with it the majority of the blown down trees, and those are the ones seen 
floating in the lake.  The snow and ice and very top of Mount St. Helens,
followed down behind the blast and bulge, and what remains of it can be seen
across the way from Windy Ridge.  The homes, dwellings, and everything prior
to this eruption, are now buried 210ft under the rubble that slid down the
mountain that eventful day.
  The woman who gave the interpretive talk explained all of this in one of the 
best, if not the best, interpretative talks that I have ever attended.  She
also spoke of feeling the earth, of listening and rejoicing in the revitalizing
of the earth at Mount St. Helens.  She reflected how all the new vegetation
was coming back, that the birds, animals, fish, were starting anew.  That
the eruption though harsh and deadly (57-dead) was over, and a new day had
begun, and the replenishing of all that vanished that day also had begun.
I was impressed with everything this talented woman had said, and wish now
that I had recorded her talk, and am sure that the 50 or so others who
were also there were equally impressed.
  Mattie and I walked back to the truck after the talk and had our lunch,
and took some pictures.  It was quite windy there, and after awhile we slowly
headed back to Mount Rainier.  On our way down from this mountain, we noticed
more new growing things, and were amazed at how quickly the earth had began
to recover, thirteen years after the fact.
  It seemd good to arrive back at Mount Rainier and camp.  In a few days I
would be leaving the mountain to return to the peninsula, city (Port Angeles),
apartment, my abode in the Pacific Northwest.  However, when I left here,
I knew something would be going with me, something that now was permanently
linked and imprinted upon the total I am.  For mountainous ways, and
'the mountain,' had placed their gift of impression, love, and passion,
firmly within me.  I knew as I traveled on, that wherever my life may lead me,
I would always have and remember the vivid moonlit nights where dreams abide,
the daylight hikes where reality surrounds, and the snowy even sensuous view
of lofty heights.


[Next chapters 7 & 8, A Poem/Places and People;
note: text is yet to be proof read]
                                          This page created May98
                                                updated 2005