Photo: Michael Heilemann
In 1980, in my little house on East Third in Vancouver, on Sunday mornings I read the Manchester Guardian overseas edition, air mailed on white tissue.
The house had a little garden in back and a wide verandah on the front. From my post in the front-porch rocker, I could see the Second Narrows Bridge. From the back lane I could see the impressively symmetrical volcanic shape of Mount Baker.
I was up early that Sunday. By 8:30 I was ensconced in my chair on the verandah, coffee and paper to hand. When I heard the boom, I only wondered idly what was making a noise on a quiet Sunday morning.
It was late in the day when I heard about the eruption of Mount St. Helens and connected the dots. The distant boom I had heard was the volcano blowing its top.
On Monday morning my car, parked on the street, was covered in a light grey film. Looking more closely, I realized that like a fine dusting of flour, volcanic ash covered everything.