Monday, May 19, 2008

Blue Turning Gray

Mount St. Helens erupted 28 years ago yesterday. I was nine at the time so I guess I didn't totally understand the magnitude of it, but I remember we got sent home from school early, and I remember hearing from my cousins that Aberdeen was covered in ash. My grandpa's cattle were also dusted over in Ellensburg—the ash blowing everywhere affected the entire Northwest. I saved a little vial of the stuff, I'm sure it's around here somewhere.

These black and white photos are by Frank Gohlke, and are collected in his excellent book Mount St. Helens, published by the Museum of Modern Art on the occasion of his exhibition at the museum in 2005.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Blue Turning Gray MP3

Not long after Mount St. Helens erupted we got two kittens. Our first cat, Mama Kitty, had just died at the age of 19. To this day she still shares the title of Best Cat Ever with Betty Whiskers and Mr. Littlejeans. She was much older than us—my mom had gotten her some time in the sixties—and it always seemed like she was taking care of us. In this picture, taken a few years earlier, my brother returns the favor:

And here are the kittens. My brother and I named the gray one Toutle—after the color of the Toutle River, which they kept showing on the news, filled with ash from Mount St. Helens.

1 comment:

Lee said...

and the 'Other Cat' was named? OC because we couldn't agree on another name and thought we were being so clever. You have a good memory, I thought we were all together in the house when we heard a big boom and ran to the south windows and saw a huge plume of smoke, not yet knowing what it I checked and that day was a Friday, so your story holds. Wow, are you really that old?
As for Mama Kitty, best cat ever fersure! She went blind and wandered off during our never-ending 7 year remodel, which to this day still makes me feel bad not knowing her fate, even after looking & looking. Animals tend to find their own birthing and dying places, so I prefer to think that was her wise decision.
You can still drive to Eastern Wash. today and see leftover ash along the highway 'panavistas'!