Today I was trying to decide what to write about when I read this question, “Do you live near a volcano?” It got me to thinking about all the problems that can accrue when you dare to travel. Ruth and I have traveled all of our married lives and have been very lucky. Oh, we have had auto accidents in foreign countries, been mugged on public transportation while in Spain, and lived through bad weather in several places, but all in all we have survived to travel again.
The truthful answer to the volcano question is this, “Do potential volcanos count?” If so, we live near Oregon’s Mount Hood and can see Mount St. Helens from our neighborhood. In fact, we see both mountains on most clear days. One has erupted in our lifetimes and the other is a potential eruption.
Does living near a potential volcano bother us? In truth it does not. Both mountains are incredibly beautiful especially covered with snow and far enough away to live with. I only get alarmed when I’m near to either peak and being forced to confront their potentials. There’s a display on Mount Rainier, another definite future eruption, in a visitors’ center. Its apparent mission is to scare you and it does until you walk away from the bad news.
Ruth had a cousin named Kenneth who experienced the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helen’s from his house in Sunnyside, WA. This mountain has had 4 major eruptions in the last 500 years. Ruth & I lived in St. Louis at the time and had seen another cousin’s house utterly destroyed in a tornado, experienced a 500 year flood on the Mississippi, and had a car broken into. Marge and Tom built another and better house to get past the end-of-year tornado and happily moved to West Plains. Kenneth brought us some lava in a jar and loved to talk about how dark it got in the afternoon that Sunday. During the eruption, he could not see far enough outside to walk from his back door to the garage in his backyard. Kenneth had genuine survivor’s joy. People who sit around worrying about the potentials for disaster in their lives can become severely handicapped with anxiety.
Ruth and I had an oven fire a couple of weeks ago. If the fire had gotten worse, our entire house could have conflagrated and been destroyed, but we and it survived thanks to the skills of our local fire department. Just today, I found 2 cinders embedded in a carpet. They had to be removed. Like Kenneth and Tom and Marge, we now have survivors’ joy, a new oven, and are hoping to travel soon.