American Elephants


It Was 28 Years Ago Today by American Elephant

Chances are, if you’re not from Washington or Oregon, the date May 18th has little meaning to you. Heck, even around here many don’t think of it unless someone reminds them. But I remember, every year. It’s one of the only world events I remember from back then — I was only ten; but the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 was just the kind of event that little boys remember forever.

We were very fortunate, the mountain exploded northwards, but the winds carried the ashcloud away to the southeast. I remember being somewhat disappointed that the ash wasn’t turning day to night for us like it was for all the people on the television. In fact, we didn’t seem to get any ashfall at all, much to my chagrin; while people on the other side of the mountain were measuring it in inches, like snow.

So much excitement! …and so little pay off.

About the most exciting thing I personally experienced was standing on my father’s roof to see the enormous plume looking fairly small and unimpressive so many miles away. I’m not sure if we heard the explosion or not. They say people heard it as far as 700 miles away, and we were certainly much closer than that. I think we did — but that could just be my memory playing tricks on me.

So close, and yet so far. But I still remember it every year.




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