Sunday, March 23, 2014


Many years ago, we took a trip from Kansas City to Washington State to see Mark's mom.  It was a three day trek with three kids and long before portable DVDs were the recommended travel necessity to entertain restless, little passengers.  The kids were troopers and we would do the trip two more times over the years before summer schedules and work commitments no longer allowed for three weeks off.

Mark was all about making "good" time and so stopping to see anything for longer than necessary interfered with his self-imposed schedule.  This came to a head at a motel bathroom in Wyoming when I pulled him in and yelled, "We are missing everything because of this stupid time thing you keep harping about.  We are going through the most scenic parts of this country and all we've seen is the interstate."

He saw the tourist light and the next day we veered off of I-90 West and went to Yellowstone.  Beautiful, spectacular Yellowstone.

Mark went to graduate school with several guys who have ended up at the University of Washington, and so we left the youngest two with my mother-in-law for a few days and took Maggie with us to Seattle.  On the way back to Spokane, Mark said it would be an easy jaunt to Mt. St. Helens and wouldn't that be something to see.

The jaunt turned out to be about 100 miles from Seattle to Prescott, and then the most harrowing drive up a mountain that I have ever experienced.  Or maybe my one and only mountain experience seeing as how I've lived most of my life in Illinois and Kansas and mountains are as foreign to us as oceans.

There was not a guardrail to be seen as we hugged the mountain through curves and switchbacks.  My fear of heights went into overdrive and while Mark was commenting on the scenery I was screaming, "TWO HANDS!!!!  TWO HAND ON THE WHEEL!!!"  It didn't help.  Nothing helped my anxiety and at one point I put my head down and started doing Lamaze which was just as worthless at several thousand feet as it was in three different delivery rooms.

Maggie, who was sitting in the back and has her father's sense of adventure, became the mom and tried to soothe my frazzled nerves with everything she had in her ten-year-old arsenal.  When we finally made it to the safety of the visitors center and looked out it was the most breathtaking sight.  The devastation seventeen years after that volcano was mind boggling.  Tens of thousands of trees were flattened like twigs in every direction.  The trees that weren't flattened were stripped bare of life.  There has never been a single picture I've seen of that mountainside that comes close to what it actually looks like in person.

By that time amongst the locals, things were definitely looking up.  The new growth was a source of amazement and pride and a sign that Mother Nature, in all of her fury, eventually comes back full circle with new life.

I had trouble sharing their enthusiasm because in my eyes I saw more of what was gone than what was coming up, but I didn't live there.  Mt. St. Helens wasn't my view out the window.

These many years later at home in Kansas, my view out the window remains flat and usually uninteresting, but this week I squealed at the familiar green leaves of the daffodils poking through the mud and dead leaves........

........and nature's nod of what lies ahead reveals itself to those who are looking for hope.

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