Mt. St. Helens blows her top.
The children are still in bed when the rumbling starts and we gather them up and rush outside onto the rocky hilltop. Earthquake, we think, and start explaining to the children what is happening. Even as we talk about it we begin to have doubts - this is more noise than shake and it goes on and on. Heather and I glance at each other over the children`s heads: we are imagining what an atomic explosion would sound like if Seattle, only eighty miles to the south of us should be under attack.
After all we are the generation that have lived our lives under that sword, practiced crouching under our school desks, woken at night to hear jet planes and thought they were Russian bombers come to destroy us and listened to many false alarm air raid sirens. Heck, I had been born in the middle of an air raid during WWII. While in university we had lived through the surreal week of the Cuban missile crisis and seriously questioned whether we should bring children into this dangerous world at all. How much of our decision to move to the country and pursue a self sufficient life was due to a dread that this very thing we are listening to off in the distance could come to pass. We must be ready to survive by our own efforts.
The cabin is not falling down so I step inside and turn the radio on loud before rejoining the family on the rock top. Mount Saint Helens has erupted in a spectacular fashion with the power of many atomic bombs just down in Washington state to our south. Over the next few days we will receive a dusting of volcanic ash and watch scenes of devastation on our little TV.
It is interesting how the news gave the power of the explosion in so many units of Hiroshima atomic bombs, a whole society has been traumatized in the past thirty years. Imagine, zillions of bombs and missiles with the final button in the hands of politicians. Scary! Beyond scary, mind numbing.