M is for Mount St. Helen’s, Mount Rainier #atozchallenge #amwriting

A vision of Mount Rainier.

This is fiction.

For My Mother

All of this before me. The shorn off mountain, devastation. A woman tossing peanuts to a ground squirrel next to the sign that prohibits feeding of wildlife. Laughter. Selfies. Children giggling, fighting. A man dropping trash. A couple groping while sitting on the stone wall.

A sharp wind skirts over this hill, a tinge of cold, memories of the ghosts buried around me.

A guide speaks of life how it was. Spirit Lake, a tourist mecca, fishing and camping and hiking. A paradise for the outdoors loving person.

“Give me back my iPad!”

The guide continues on. “An old man named after a president is buried 200 feet under debris.”

“Give it. I hate you!”

The mother captures a selfie with the mountain in the background, duck face lips pursed.

Trees downed. The landscape transformed. A river changes path. People die.

Back in Seattle, I enjoy succulent oysters, sip a Manhattan. A pianist plays “I’ll Be Seeing You,” bringing me one step closer to my mother’s loss, before she had me, before she met my dad, her drunken cries to me over “what ifs” and a man who perished in the landscape I’ve just viewed.

I needed to see. I needed to understand.

Wide windows display the northern Cascades. The active volcanic Mount Rainier looms, snow-topped, majestic.

Tomorrow I return to my safe Appalachian meadow home, still unable to repair my mother’s buried grief.



Sascha Darlington 4/17/2018



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