The Earliest Memory

Casual Notebook

Thirty-two years ago, in the northwestern US state of Washington, the previously dormant volcano Mt. St Helens erupted. For me, it is an early memory that has been reduced to a vague recollections and second-hand accounts.  What survives are images, like faded sepia-colored slides in my mind.  I remember understanding that something very large was happening, something that reached beyond the scope of my pre-adolescent perspective.  Maybe this was the first time I began to think of the world as a large place.  I looked at maps to trace the ash clouds, which reached up to 15 miles into the atmosphere, and were carried in trace amounts around the world.  The shock waves from the eruption were recorded in New York state.  After a scale 5.1 earthquake, over 20 square miles of earth broke of the mountain, creating the largest landslide in recorded history.

Most of the actual events I…

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