Today is the 25th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. How many of you reading are old enough to remember that day? Or were even born yet?
I was in first grade, attending Alfalfa School. The main thing I remember from that time was the ash—it didn’t drift quite as far south as us, but it did make it to Redmond. My teacher was from Redmond (Alfalfa was—and still is—in the Redmond school district), and her car had a fine layer of ash all over it. That doesn’t seem like much—the cities and towns closer to the eruption had day turn into night from all the ash, so much that it looked like deep snowdrifts and blizzard conditions, people had to wear masks and cars actually stalled out and had their engines ruined from intaking the stuff—but to a seven-year-old even that light dusting really drove home the reality of having a live, active volcano in the relative neighborhood.
And in the days and weeks that followed, the news would show that time-lapse footage of the entire north face of St. Helens exploding and disappearing, followed by the unimaginable image of acre after acre of mud and felled trees and grey wasteland. Even to this day it’s mind-boggling at just how violent that event was.