Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It Was A Dark and Stormy Morning

The Big Picture has the definitive collection of photographs from the oodles I've seen so far today. As you might imagine, there are lots and lots of articles and blog posts on St. Helens today and over the last few days. I'll probably post several pieces myself today. The above photo (or a very similar one, or perhaps a crop of the above) covered 2/3 of the whole front page of The Oregonian on Monday. I bought two copies, and one was a wall poster for years. The other got filed.

It was shortly after noon today that I woke up for a second time, went out to the community room, where maybe 3 dozen people were crowded around the television, watching... something. It was a hazy, apparently black and white, writhing, seething mass between two walls of trees on either side. Trees would snap off and disappear into it.

"What is that?" I asked, of no one in particular.

Someone glanced over their shoulder and replied, "Mt. St Helens."

I didn't comprehend what I was seeing for quite some time, but I was witnessing a lahar on the Toutle River. I'll keep looking, but I haven't found any clips of those debris flows. But after the above image, my initial glimpse of the volcanic fury that day, ironically debris-choked water, mud and wood, remains, for me, the most iconic image from Mt. St. Helens.

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