There’s a lot of things in my life I want to forget, even more that I never will. One of the latter were the skies on this day 40 years ago.
I was 12. I lived in my roller skates at that age. There was some sort of competition up at the mall that day. We went, I tried, I didn’t do well.
I remember bits and pieces of that.
It was after the competition, when we were back home and doing yard work, when I saw the ash cloud.
We’d heard about the eruption, knew what was going on. Well, as much as 12 year old me cared to understand. I remember this thick blanket o gray. Not rain cloud gray. Ash gray. It was so thick that the only way to tell one section of the sky from another were these small ‘pillows’ of lighter gray.
And nothing moved through it. It stretched on forever that day. Once it reached us, we didn’t see a normal sky again until the next day. Possibly the day after. That part’s murky.
We had ashfall. The cars were dusted, and I had to use a mask the rest of the summer whenever I mowed the lawn. It would kick up the ash, and none of us were sure what it would do to our lungs. I remember my mom collecting some into glass baby food jars (not sure why she had them, but she did) to save. But I don’t remember seeing it fall that day.
I’ve lived through a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, and now a pandemic. That counts as 3 bad things from the Earth, so I should be done now. Right?