As a child we visited Mt. St. Helens several years after the 1980 eruption. The gray world we visited in my childhood is a vivid memory—gray mountain, gray hills, gray trees knocked over by the blast, gray pumice stones we picked up to play with, gray branches we used to make little dams in a small stream flowing into Spirit Lake filled with gray floating trees. The only color was the blue sky and blue lake.
I haven't been back in at least 20 years. My parents and I took Friday to visit Mt. St. Helens again, to hike down to Spirit Lake. Where volunteers have planted trees, the forest is growing and the hills are turning green. But the volcanic monument has been left undisturbed, so we can observe how nature reforests the land on its own. There are some trees, many bushes, and flowers in places, but other spots are still very gray with just a few flowers growing. A lot of the dead trees have rotted away, leaving empty hillsides waiting to be recovered. I had fun with my camera taking pictures of now while remembering the past.