My grandmother sent me a little packet of ash that had fallen on Mount Saint Helens back in 1980 when she was visiting Washington state, well before I’d ever considered living there. It stayed in my pink jewelry box [shut up] and somehow managed to come along with me this whole time until now it’s on the little shelf on my dresser along with a wire sculpture a friend made, a portion of a Buddha from Afghanistan and an orange fuzzy thing with googly eyes, all things that survived the many deaccessioning stages that I’ve gone through.
And today is the 30th anniversary of the main eruption (though the ash is from a few weeks later) and the internet can bring all those photos back, pictures that I only remember seeing in the Boston Globe, in print, back when I was eleven.
I am still writing. I’m in the word count range where the numbers of words I’ve typed can be represented as zip codes, moving roughly westwards, usually. I typed from South Bend Indiana to Flint Michigan today. Sometimes I wind up in Spain.
My town is, as always, underwater and I am out of ideas to get Google to repair it. I am working on a catchy jingle. I hope they like it.