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Today is the anniversary of the explosion of Mt St Helen’s. I was a teen at the time actually working in forestry and on my way down with a crew when she blew. We heard it on the radio. Fortunately we were late for that trip, we had delayed a day, we had plans to go elsewhere, nothing was quite going right.

Toby Mac sings a song, “He’s never early, He’s never late,” and it often makes me think of those moments suspended in time, the odd synchronicities in the world where you can look back and see how precise the timing was that actually saved your life. I once saw a man get up from a bench and cross the street not ten seconds before a truck landed right on that very same bench.

It left me a bit shaken and rattled, like a major tear in the fabric of the universe just happened and everything has now shifted forever. The world you knew before is now gone, the person you once were has now changed. The explosion of Mt St Helen’s was like that, although I was a teen and so far more self absorbed and less prone to observe such things. Just the same, it was surreal. We were pretty far away, but it got dark and ash covered everything.

Sometimes when there is a forest fire far away the sun turns red behind the smoke and it casts a red glow over the whole landscape and I imagine we’re on Mars, on the red planet. Ha, also it often becomes hard to breath, lending to the authenticity of feeling as if you’ve left Earth. That’s what I mean by “surreal.”

911 also changed everything. It was very surreal. I had a baby back then and I remember as we watched it on TV how my husband actually said, “the world as we know it has just changed forever.” Strangely, we both knew what that meant, the loss of privacy, the beginning of secrecy. I did not have “strip searching grandmas” at airports on my bingo card, while defending and protection Muslims from “being profiled,” but I did have a good feel for where we as a nation were heading.

Covid was also like that, or perhaps I should say “covid hysteria.” It was like being trapped in a dystopian sci/fi book or movie, perhaps something like George Orwell’s, “1984.” What I thought I could always count on was just gone in an instant. Shoot, the people themselves I thought I could always count on were gone in an instant as they promptly labeled me conspiracy theorist and then proceeded to whisper (and sometimes shout) about how people like me should be locked up, fired, denied medical care. Don’t even get me started about the one’s who gloated, who danced on my grave and wished me a long winter of death and despair.

Sorry, still kicking.

“You can never go home again,” and other melancholy literary phrases come to mind. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. I will never trust the medical establishment again, or the government, or really people in general. We are not going to be “getting back to normal,” because “normal” was completely stolen from us. Also, a huge crime happened, a tremendous human right’s violation, one we haven’t even begun to unpack.

I can’t pretend “everything is fine” and get back to, “how things used to be,” because I’m not even the same person anymore. The damage is done, the change has occurred. That world of old doesn’t even exist for me anymore.

It’s okay! Or as a dear old friend of mine used to say, “it’s finer than frogs hair.” Thankfully my eyes are not resting on the security of this world and it’s assorted happenings. Also, we adapt and grow, we are, “made for such a time as this.” But as for just pretending it didn’t happen, sweeping it all under the rug, getting back to normal, forgiving and forgetting, nope, not happening. I left a piece of my heart behind in the past.

Just a little tidbit people may not be aware of, when Mt St Helen’s blew there was much lamentation, a gnashing of teeth over how a million year old glacier had been forever destroyed, the habitat forever decimated. Apparently not, because today Mt St Helen’s has a glacier that is brand new, barely 40 years old, and one of the greatest debunks ever when it comes to climate change. She is not a baby glacier either, it only took her 20 years to grow into “a million yr old snow pack.”

She is a good friend of mine, if one can be said to have glaciers as “friends.” Not a typical glacier at all apparently, but rather, “a scientifically impossible freak of nature.” Me too Crater Glacier, me too.