Tomorrow is the 36th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption.
I took this picture in July of that year from a spot down the road from my house. A lot of people think this picture--and others like it--were the actual eruption, but this was a later one. She blew and rumbled for months before and after the devastating eruption on May 18th.
For this one, I was driving home with my sister and we saw the plume rise over the hill like a nuclear cloud. We arrived home, grabbed our camera, and ran to the clearing where we knew we could see the eruption unfettered by trees. My grandfather, who lived next door to us, was already there and in the non-closeup of this picture, you can see his elbow.
May 18th was actually overcast when we heard the news that St. Helen's had blown. We couldn't see the eruption from our vantage point, but we could see an enormous black cloud of ash as it swept to the East.
I was a senior in high school that year and we took ownership of the volcano--a symbolic ownership of what our lives could be. I think most of us still feel a genuine kinship with her--sometimes we roar and sometimes we just rumble below the surface. But, St. Helens is the volcano of our heart.
She's been rumbling again, our little volcano, building up her magma stores. It hasn't been determined if that's a good or a bad thing.
And now, Mt. Hood, another mountain in our vicinity, is sparking to life with a flurry of shallow earthquakes. When you live in the valley of volcanoes, you tend to pay attention to this news. Not because you're scared so much, but because you're fascinated. At least I am.
And now, I leave you with the thought that the phrase, In The Valley Of Volcanoes might make an excellent title for something. Mmmmm. Time to leave and ruminate on that.