On a bright and sunny day

on the 18th of may

An earthquake resulted in a landslide

That unleashed a massive force brewing inside

 

The eruption removed the upper 1,300 feet

The magma chamber burst, rock and gas blown at supersonic speed

Within 8 miles, all was instantly wrecked

With a shockwave so big, what could one expect?

 

As the north slope collapsed down

Life forms began to drown

Every tree in sight swept away

19 miles outward; a ruinous ashtray

 

Silence breaks as ash falls like snow

The once mature landscape now just an embryo

What had become a lifeless terrain,

Now shows us what 35 years can attain.

 

After the volcanic cataclysm

Biological legacies determine the pace of new ecosystems

The following colonizers proceed:

Lupines, pearly everlasting, alder shrubs, and fireweed.

 

The coniferous forest was replaced

The deciduous Alder trees won the race

The new forest attracts grasshoppers, birds, and ants

Larks, gophers, sparrows and deer mice take a chance

 

Out of 256 species alive prior to the eruption,

86 are now in production

20% of the surface is covered with grass and legumes

Struggling young trees that endeavor to bloom

 

Ecological gaps begin to fill

Strong ecosystems form, production is uphill.

Elk arrives to munch on grass and bark

The thick forests attract birds, like larks.

 

Fallen logs create nutrients and feed biofilm to the lake

Floating ecosystems now have a plenty resources to take

Elevation effects the rate of recovery report.

The higher the colder which means growing season is short.

 

The loss of trees means more room for sun

As the lake warms up, there’s increased production

More insects and bigger fish, like rainbow trout

Salamanders scarce now, not many about.

 

Lupins deserve their own stanza, those purple legumes.

They help make pumice landscape suitable for others to bloom.

Lupins create essential nutrients the pumice is low on

Other plants are thankful for the rare space to grow on.

 

All this information hopefully to inspire,

Life pulls through in situations most dire.

Mount Saint Helens’ destructive wake is seen clearly today,

The eruption that obliterated had also paved a way.

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