Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy MSHD!

Three decades plus...

It's only been 31 years since the moderately sized eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

We thought it a big deal. It was. People died. The landscape changed. The economy changed a bit.

I even wondered at the time whehter the company I worked for then, AAR Western Skyways, would be able to continue to overhaul and sell aircraft engines.

Who would want an engine that had been test run on a diet of air laced with volcanic ash?

We didn't really have a tangible sense of what volcanic ash even was. When we think of ash, we typically think of flakes of sooty gray or black carbon. That's what we get when we burn paper and wood. When mountains burn, we get rock dust. Silica. Glass powder, essentially.

The mountain I love to spend time on, South Sister, is a volcano. There's a crater at the top, now filled in with snow and ice. But the whole thing, and everything around it, are piles of rock that was once molten foam, piles of dust, and piles of volcanic glass known by the exotic term "obsidian".

South Sis is a recent little gem on the earth's surface. She got there by the violent birthing process of eruption. She's part of the young Cascades. There are older Cascades buried and reburied underneath. Life goes on. Creation goes on. The earth shapes and reshapes itself. That's how it works.

We sometimes think things are more violent today, that stuff like quakes and tsunamis are indicators of the end of time, the end of the world. No, we are living in a quiet time now. Really, we are. It's just that there are more of us two-leggeds in more places on the face of the earth. We have more of our stuff in the way of earth's movements, so we think things are more violent.

Life goes on according to God's time, not our evaluations of it. My prayer is to leave a little of me in the people around me for a time, but to leave as little as possible of me on the earth itself when I am gone. After all, I need to leave as much room as possible for those still to come on this planet.

I thank the One who made it and makes it. I thank those who left room for me.



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