Creative Landscape Submissions

Creative Landscape was a month of weekly challenges in May 2020 to stretch participants' art form under creative confinements, engage with and inspire the wonder of Mount St. Helens through visual art, poetry, and prose. 

Storytelling has a long history on Mount St. Helens. Lawetlat'la, as the mountain is known to the Cowlitz Tribe and others, has been a cornerstone in indigenous oral tradition for millennia. Colonizers, settlers, and visitors to the region have also drawn inspiration from this ephemeral mountain for centuries.


Week 1 Challenge: 40 Words for 40 Years

Birthday by Jonathan Shipley

It was my father's birthday
the day Mt. St. Helens died
and gave birth to something
gray. My father could neer
really show up he loved us
except those time in the 
woods when the mountains
gleamed something like hope.

Start Over by Katie Whittier

Awakening, though never asleep,
I shed my outer skin
And start over.

You think me dead, barren,
But life just looks different now,

Sun, wind, rain, snow, time --
My sustenance.
You leave me alone, and I thrive.

I thrive.


Word Plume

by Patrice Cook

WEEK 2 CHALLENGE: Monochromatic Mountain


When the Earth Turned Inside Out

By Katie Whittier

Above the Clouds

Submitted by Ben Burke, Photo by Ryan Hepner-Hart

Spirit Reflections

by Patrice Cook, 6"x6", scratch board



Spring blooms at Mount St. Helens

Gina Roberti, Watercolor Painting.
Watercolor painting highlighting the beautiful natural plants that are edible and medicinal that grow around Mount St. Helens. In the foreground plants include: Salmonberry, thimbleberry, vanilla leaf and nettle.

WEEK 5 CHALLENGE: Mountain Haiku


A Haiku of Lupine

by Kelly McGivern

The prairie lupine
Gives nitrogen to others
A martyr for plants


Haiku to You Too

by David Newcomb

Big mountain, go boom!
Who will clean up this huge mess?
Well, Nature of course.



by Patrice Cook

Lenticular cloud
cloaking deep sacred spirits
Hail ice onto fire



by Natalie DaSilva


Up to the summit

Beauty in a sacred place

Every step a prayer



A Poem by Ava Bachryj

The sky turns black with harmful ash

The end is drawing near

But still we fight

For death and life

Though all is doomed

The time is now

So take a bow

Those who fought St. Helens

MSH Topographic Model

by Duane Van Johnson, laser cut draft board and spray paint

by Heidi Long, Watercolor painting.

40 Years Later

by R. Steve Parr, Acrylic Painting

Listen - 40th Anniversary Special

Shannon Beer, acrylic painting, 20"x18"

I have seen your winds bend the steel rods men laid for rebuilding the Windy River bridge. I
didn’t know you then, when you blew your top, but I heard the men, and their fear, as the skies
darkened and the temperature dropped. We hid behind our masks, wondering when you would
descend upon our town, wondering when we too would be carried or buried away. Fear has a
funny way of playing tricks on the mind, in a split second or a microscopic cell. I came to you
filled with talk. So much talk. Maybe you, too, grew tired of all the talk. Too much talk. You see I
had this fear of disappearing from this world with the fire still hiding inside. I held to my staff
and walked around your feet for days, for weeks, for years. You puffed on your pipe, like you’d
done before, not saying a word. And it was then, maybe, I began to listen. Listening is like
climbing, and thinking you’re close to the top, only to discover you’re not. Only to discover
you’d been thinking about the top, and not listening at all. Round and round I circled your
smoking pipe, not knowing if I could listen. If I could surrender the fear, and listen. If I, too,
could bear witness to the holy fire rising from within.
Written by Kara Maria Stricker, Copyright 2020