Today in the Northwest marks the anniversary of Mount St Helens blowing her top and gaining notoriety as the first volcanic explosion in the continental U.S. since, well, I don’t know, a long damn time otherwise we’d all have been shrugging our shoulders saying “Eh, there goes another one.”

Mount St. Helens, volcano
Mount St. Helens, the stupid volcano that reminds me every year of my age.

The papers today published reports about the event and stated the obvious that Mount St. Helen’s is now the most studied volcano in the continental US. Ya think? It’s like saying the only book on a bookshelf is the most read book in the house. Tales of nature’s fury and recovery, stories of people who lost homes, and blurbs from those who lived in the area will be filling up valuable news time and blog space all week.

And then some jerk reporter had to state the awful words, “It’s been thirty-four years since the May 18th explosion.”

You lie!

Thirty-four years?

Screw you!

It can’t be thirty-four years. I was seven years old when that thing decided to blow. I remember my dad and I walking a couple blocks from our house to watch the ash spewing from some mountain I’d never noticed before. I remember wearing facemasks for weeks after until the dust settled. I remember the coating of ash all over cars, plants, pets, and, well, everything.

Thirty-four years have not passed since I made fun of people buying little vials of “Real Mount St. Helen’s Ash” from local gift shops. Really? We had a half-inch layer of the stuff all over our rhododendrons and these people were paying $5 for it? Even as a child I was cynical enough to call these people fools!

Thirty-four years, my ass!

I know people that weren’t even alive thirty-four years ago.

I cannot be forty-one. That’s insane.

As I’m sure us ladies are all guilty of, I compare myself to women in magazines and when I see someone in their early forties I can’t help but shove it in my husband’s face and say “I do NOT look like that, do I?” To which he is wise enough to reply, “No, not at all.”

I totally believe him because I don’t look forty-one (perhaps that ash had some youth preserving qualities – maybe those vial-purchasing people knew something I didn’t). People “that” age should have a bunch of wrinkles, way more grey hair, and have (as Austen says) “lost their glow.”

I am so NOT forty-one.

I don’t act forty-one – okay I don’t really know how forty-one year olds are supposed to act, but it seems they should be much more serious about things than I am, have a herd of kids, attend parent-teacher conferences, know what they want to be when they grow up or at least be settled into a career, that sort of thing.

That’s totally not me.

A few years ago Iceland had its own volcano (I’m not going to try to spell that glob of syllables) spouting. I’m thinking of thirty-four years from now when I’ll have to hear stories of it and how it disrupted flights across Europe. And I wonder what all the girls who are kids now will have going through their heads when they realize they’re forty-one.

By then it will be sixty-four years since Mount St Helens went off and I’m sure the papers here will still be running the same news stories they always do about it. And I’m sure I’ll be saying, “I am totally NOT seventy-one.” Maybe by then I’ll be acting and looking more my age.

Yeah right.

To learn more about Mount St. Helens and see the many recreational activities there, head over to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument website (USGS)

4 thoughts on “Stupid Volcanoes – aka Happy Mount St. Helens Day

  1. You are too funny, but I agree that you definitely don’t look 41! I hit 30 last year and I compare myself to other people my age in terms of “success” – I do not measure up to my own standards! But hey, I’m over it, I’m doing my best and moving forward so I can’t ask for much more!


  2. I was 32 and living in Yakima, just 85 miles downwind. We were buried in inches of ash and noontime turned pitch black. It was terrifying.
    The mountain wasn’t the only thing blowing up in my life, either. It was a long trip from that Eden in the desert to New England.


    1. It’s always interesting to see what memories certain events trigger in people. Thanks for commenting…I always love hearing from readers.


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