I had an opportunity to summit Mount St. Helens this past Sunday, and I'm still recovering from the effort, but it was an incredible experience and the very first time I've ever climbed to the top of a mountain. The views were breathtaking (or maybe that was the thin mountain air). Standing on the edge of the gaping crater, looking at the little mountain inside being rebuild, and then taking in the vast scenery beyond, is hard to describe.
I wanted to attempt to capture the feeling, without being too literal about it. The raven was real; there were a few hundred feet of the mountain where he hung around and I assumed he was waiting for us to die so he could pick at our bones. When I posted a picture of it, my friend said, "That's my dad!" Her father recently passed and since then she's been visited by ravens. He was an avid backpacker and mountaineer so I liked the idea of him watching over us more than a random bird waiting for us to become carrion.
The maiden is a reference to the various indigenous legends of St. Helens as a beautiful woman, often the source of conflict between warriors to explain the seismic activity of the region. Depending on the tribe, her name and principle role change, but even in the tales where she starts as an old hag, she transforms into a stunning beauty. The most common of her names is Loowit. I almost went for the obvious (and accurate) rhyme of "crater" with "later," but given the mountain's feminine persona, I liked the notion of the horseshoe crater cradling a baby mountain better.
In a perfect world, I'd go full Joni and do this on a mountain dulcimer, but I had to settle for a baritone ukulele tuned to D-A-A-D.
I do also have a palpable fear that this song, or at least the refrain, has been written already, but the muse wants what it wants.
We rose with the dawn
Bound for where the wild wind blows
Drove on for miles
To a place of rock and snow
We fell in love under a cobalt sky
We saw a raven
The father of a friend of mine
On the volcano
Miles of boulders grace her shoulders
She calls to us all to follow
I wasn't alive the day the maiden blew
But when it was time, there wasn't much for anyone to do
Decades later in her cradle
A mountain being born for all to see
Higher than I ever thought I'd be
I don't think I've ever felt more wild or free
Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.