My first visit to Mt. St. Helens was two years after it’s eruption. Our road trip took us along a forest-covered mountain and a curve in the road left us speechless. It was completely barren, and aside from the sky, it felt like we were the only color in this monochromatic landscape. The conical summit of the past was now horseshoe-shaped, ecosystems had vanished, wildlife was gone, and anything resembling life was covered with an eerie, ashen- gray color.
We stared at a portrait of lifelessness.
Once again Mother Nature had a plan. What looked, and felt disastrous today was a gift about recovery. The destruction of Mt. St. Helens was a canvas for her to paint…. while we watched. You see, there were burrowing animals who survived, trees that grew up from underground roots, and fish under ice-topped lakes.
The nitrogen-fixing lupine tucked their seeds into pumice-covered hillsides gifting the landscape with a trickle of purple the following spring.
And recovery began.
Today trees are being replanted to encourage growth, ecologists study first hand effects of soil erosion, sequential progression of recovery, and what it means to have a blank slate to work on. Animals are returning, and that canvas we talked about? That will be a work in progress…forever.
Never question the power of Mother Nature.
And, never be afraid to start over. That canvas thing? YOU can do that too.