Holden Voices: Blog

Poems, stories, and reflections, written by faculty, staff, and volunteers currently serving in the Village.

CALLIE MABRY: Mount St. Helens Musings

May 19, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Day 65

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Southwest WA, which triggered massive landslides, killed 57 people, and spewed volcanic ash around the world.

I was reflecting on the stories my grandma in Yakima, WA tells of that day. She was at church choir practice and watched the sky turn dark in the middle of the morning. Church services were cancelled, and my aunts and uncles gathered at my grandparents’ house in the midst of the unnerving events.

I see parallels to our current pandemic situation: fear and uncertainty; death and destruction. Cancelled gatherings, and a longing to be close with loved ones.

I remember visiting Mt. St. Helens when I was younger and seeing all of the beautiful wildflowers growing throughout the once-barren landscape.

It reminds me of walking around this valley and seeing the vibrant bushes and wildflowers naturally emerging where fires have burned. Tiny trees and shrubs planted on the tailings piles are starting to revegetate the rocky slopes.

I was struck by quote in The Seattle Times yesterday, in an article paraphrasing ecologist Charlie Crisafulli: “Don’t say the mountain is recovering – because it will never return to what it was before. Rather, it is busily making something entirely new. […] The drama playing out will continue for hundreds and even thousands of years.”

We won’t return to the way society was before COVID-19, but I hope that we will create something as beautiful as a field of lupine on top of volcanic ash.

In peace,

Callie Mabry is Writer/Editor at Holden Village. This column was originally published on May 19, 2020 in a daily newsletter, "The Quarantine Quarter," which is compiled by various staff members and sent to all Villagers.

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