A Postcard from Mount St. Helens (For Geoff)


Mount St. Helens, Washington State  

There were too many dark clouds for us to see the mountain that day. All anyone here talked about was the 1980 volcanic eruption, how it uprooted entire pine forests and stranded scientists and annihilated everything in its way. Nearly four decades later, I'm touched by the quiet fertility of the volcanic ash: small, bright wildflowers and young pine trees. Sometimes this is what it takes. There is always an after. 

We hiked a short trail along the side of the mountain with sideways rain drizzling on our cheeks, and then decided to turn back. Then we stood here, watching the clouds drifting, blowing like smoke over the dark peaks. This was our last stop, our last mountain before a momentous arrival.  

Geoff on Mount St. Helens

About: My name is Geoff. I'm a dad, a husband, and own a small graphic design studio based in Brooklyn that attempts to make smart, beautiful projects that entices people to stop and think and engage.

On Mount St. Helens: During my freshman year in college, my friend Brendan and I went for a backpack journey in the Cascades -- at Gifford Pinchot National Forest -- without a map or a compass. We spent two nights out in the wilderness and got terribly lost on the trail. Being at higher altitudes even in May, there's a possibility it will snow. It did. There were a few moments when we felt scared, but never lost our cool.

The thing I remember most was climbing up this ridge, not knowing where we were going, reaching a clearing and looking out across to see Mt. St Helens for the first time. At dusk with blustering winds and the sky spitting on us a bit, it was pretty magical: the mountains, the sky, the light. 

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