Mt. St. Helens

As human beings, we operate our lives according to patterns. To familiarity.

In the Pacific Northwest, in the month of May, the sun rises at 5:28AM…and sets at 8:42PM. Always.

If you remember Sunday, May 18th, 1980…you remember something quite different.

You remember the sun rising — and you remember that by noon, the sun was gone.

The sky turned black, but that no longer mattered, because you could not see the sky. Looking up, you instead saw roils of hellish, charred smoke…a thick, billowing blanket that went from horizon to horizon. All was shadow, as though the entire planet had been put inside the pocket of a large, stumbling giant.

And then, something began to fall from the murky, smothering clouds.

Illuminated by streetlights (which had switched on as darkness enveloped the land) billions of soft, gently-cascading flakes filled your field of vision. They piled up in drifts. They covered cars. They destroyed ventilation systems. They damaged lungs.

On May 18th, 1980, at 8:32 in the morning, the world went away, and was replaced by a nightmare version of Christmas…as the grey snow fell, smoke hid the sun like a blanket, and we entered days full of night.

2010 marks thirty years since the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. On this week’s Outlook Portland (Sunday at 6:30am, only on NW32 TV) I’ll be joined by Tom Mulder, Monument Manager at the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, and Jeanne Bennett, Executive Director of the Mount St. Helens Institute.

We’ll talk about the eruption and its aftermath; we’ll discuss the people and places that were lost -or forever altered- by the events of May 18th, 1980, and we’ll find out what the present (and future) hold for this still-active volcano.

The thirtieth anniversary of the Mt. St. Helens Eruption — this Sunday, on Outlook Portland.

The show will also feature another “Outlook Portland Editorial Reply”, brought to you by our marquee sponsor, Things From Another World. This week’s guest editorialist: Megatron, leader of the Decepticons.

Outlook Portland
, Sunday at 6:30am, only on NW32 TV…the home of Gossip Girl, Melrose, and Rick Emerson.

NEXT WEEK: Thad Smith, Director/Producer of the feature film Everyman’s War.

IN TWO WEEKS: Portland, as seen through the photographic eye; with guest Jayesunn Krump of Vanished Twin Photography.

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