Mount Rainier, Tahoma, why did you take them, why do you still keep those you claimed?
They were sworn to protect your lands yet still they remain in your hands.
You have their bodies, you have their spirits always close to you.
Mount Rainier, your majestic beauty instills awe and respect in all who gaze at you.
She is a challenge to some, a fear to others.
Within her beauty is a lake of burning fire, a fire that can destroy all within her vision.
She is an ancient goddess who can give beauty and love when desired by any,
Cause suffering and heartache for many.
Like Gaia of old, Tahoma, you bring forth creations of beauty
And feed the lands around you with blessed waters.
You feed rivers of life-giving sustenance for the lands they journey through.
Life springs up, for the rivers are your daughters, and you, dear lady, are the Mother of Waters.
Yet at any moment you may erupt into fury,
Destroying that which you created and then wish to bury.
You give life, you create beauty, you take life and create sorrow.
We live only for the moment within your presence, for we know not what awaits us on the morrow.
You allow all to admire you, for beautiful you are,
Yet you are so forbidding when keeping your secrets from us afar.
Legends you hold, legends of old. Tatoosh, your beloved Thunder Bird,
is nurtured on your glaciers and sleeps in your arms.
Tatoosh flaps his giant wings and causes snows to fall,
In its path the avalanche buries all.
He flashes his eye and creates lightning,
Warning the people to stay submissive, for he is terror, and frightening.
The people paint pictures of Tatoosh to cheer his days, to honor him, and not offend him.
They pray for your serenity to please you, so they try to befriend him.
You give majestic beauty for all to admire,
Deep within your heart is death causing fire.
Yet still you claim lives of those who honored and adored you, some you will not give up,
Those who meant not to harm you.
You took the lives of thirty-two young men, those who
trained to protect you and the lands you so love.
You hold them in your bosom now, so far above where they lie, safe in your protection clearly,
Yet so far from those who are so proud of them and love them dearly.
Their bodies you have, their hearts you do not hold, for their hearts are with loved ones of old,
Yet, their spirits are never far from you, so let it be told.
These men were on their way to fight and protect our freedom,
did you love them so, were they too young to go, is that why you took them?
You stand in your beautiful and majestic pose above,
protecting the Marines whom others still love.
Note From Author ~
As dangerous as she is, Mount Rainier is the most beautiful, most spiritual place I have ever been to. I was born within her domain, on a farm in Pierce County, Washington. I grew up under the ever present awareness of the colossal snow covered pyramid that was as much a part of my daily life as the air I breathed.
Mount Rainier has at her summit two volcanic craters, each more than 1000 feet in diameter. It is these two peaks which my father always called “her breasts” — and it is between these two peaks that 32 young marines lost their lives when their Curtis Commando R5C army transport plane crashed on December 10, 1946. Their bodies still lie there frozen in time, much as they were when fresh from boot camp in San Diego on their way to Seattle, and the
majestic goddess will not relinquish them despite several attempts.
© 2016 Phyllis Doyle Burns