Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Volcano

Augustine Island is rumbling...

From the Alaska Volcano Observatory
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:15 PM AKST
Current Level of Concern Color Code: YELLOW
Previous Level of Concern Color Code: GREEN

AVO has detected important changes in earthquake activity and ground deformation at Augustine Volcano in southern Cook Inlet. These data are consistent with renewed volcanic unrest. AVO is therefore raising the level-of-concern color code from green to YELLOW and will continue to monitor activity closely. There is no indication that an eruption is imminent or certain.

Beginning in May 2005, there has been a slow increase in the number of earthquakes located under Augustine Volcano. The earthquakes are generally small (less than magnitude 1.0) and concentrate roughly 1 km below the volcano's summit. These earthquakes have slowly increased from 4-8 earthquakes/day to 20-35 earthquakes/day. Additionally, data from a 6-station Global Positioning System (GPS) network on Augustine Volcano indicate that a slow, steady inflation of the volcano started in mid-summer 2005 and continues at present. The GPS benchmark located nearest the summit has moved a total of 2.5 cm (1 inch). This motion is consistent with a source of inflation or pressure change centered under the volcano. This is the first such deformation detected at Augustine Volcano since measurements began just prior to the 1986 eruption.

No reports of increased steaming have been received by AVO, nor have satellite data shown increased thermal activity.

Historic eruptions of Augustine typically begin with explosive bursts that may send plumes of ash to 30,000-40,000 feet above sea level. The primary hazards to communities, aviation, and mariners in Cook Inlet and parts of south-central Alaska from an Augustine eruption are ash fall and drifting ash clouds. In 1986, 6 mm (0.25 inch) of ash fell in Homer, 120 km (75 mi) east of Augustine and light ashfall was recorded in Anchorage, 290 km (180 mi) away. Hot, ground-hugging flows of volcanic rock debris called pyroclastic flows may form during an eruption and could be hazardous to people, aircraft, or boats on or in the immediate vicinity of the island.

Island volcanoes can generate tsunamis by collapse into the sea. There is no evidence that conditions are developing that would lead to a major volcanic landslide or similar event at Augustine that, upon entering Cook Inlet, could generate a tsunami. No tsunami waves were generated during any of the last five eruptions of Augustine Volcano.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sagittarius

"Walking with the wire-walkers,
Sagittarius looks down
and applauds the crowd for being brave..."

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Snow

26 degrees, overcast, snow falling
5 inches of snow on the ground
1 inch fresh snow

Finally, after two days of rain and a night of howling winds, I woke up to steady snow driven in on a westerly breeze. An inch or so had already fallen by the time I went out to bring in wood for the stove. At the time I ventured out, the snow was falling as snow pellets--hard, compact pills of snow that pelted me like rain. That probably indicated some sort of disturbance in the air aloft...by the time I was done hauling wood, the pellets had been replaced by more conventional snowflakes.

I was out until nine last night, helping to set up the Homer Animal Friends booth at the annual Christmas Bazaar. It was fun but I don't plan to attend the Bazaar. We aren't much for gift-giving. Denny and I give gifts when the spirit strikes us, not on special days. Besides, I have no real reason to brave the snow-over-ice roads.

I have stumbled across a possible item for next year's bazaar, though. The warehouse store has been selling glass flower/candle holders for about a buck a piece--just a fluted bowl, really. I picked a couple up this summer to use for flowers on the patio table and was dinking around this week trying to use them as holiday holly or flower holders. Instead, they became votive holders. I had some tumbled glass and some glass cubes for holding floral arrangements in place. I mixed the cubes and glass in the bowls until they were about half full, then scattered a few tiny green, red and gold ornaments I got at the drugstore around the edges, holding them with a thin layer of the tumbled glass. They looked really nice. I decided that a red or green votive would look better in them than a sprig of artificial holly. So I bought some votives last night and tried them out. Impressively cute. If I could find more tumbled glass in town, I would make several more as "hostess" gifts. I will keep my eyes open and stock up on supplies after the holidays, and make some for next year's bazaar. I bet we could get $10-15 each for them--especially if the money was to go to the Spay/Neuter Fund.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Another beautifully clear, bitterly cold day. There is no mercy in the pale blue sky. The northeasterly winds are frigid, dry...

I am glad that we have brought the "stray" cats inside, that there are no paw prints in the snow outside, that I don't have to lie in bed at night and wonder whether the yard cats have found warm enough shelter. For now, at this moment, there is peace of mind in that regard.

First impressions can be a dicey thing with cats. The white cat ("White Cat #4" in the vet's records) has shown an unexpected aggressive side toward the other cats in the shop. Lola's Dad ("Black Cat #4") seems--surprisingly--social and docile for a supposed "feral" cat. He comes out from his day-time hiding spot when I feed the cats at night, lurking in the shadows until I fill the plate nearest him, then eating with a quiet gratitude. He is wary but not terrified of me.

At this turning of the year, there are other cats populating my mind, ghost cats, those gone but still close in my heart. As I move around the shop, doing my cat chores, the absent ones press into my thoughts: Johnny and Boo Boo, the still-painful memories of Lucy Sue and Little Black Newt.

And underneath all, the missing of Kisa, who lives now and forever in my heart. She died before the house was finished, before there were even walls and ceilings--just the bare wooden frames and plywood floors. Somewhere, however, lodged in some cranny of the floor boards or tucked in a corner of the wall frames--some tuft of fur, the ghost-print of a paw--something of her remains, lives in this house.

***

I watch the noon sun gild the individual hairs of Slippers' tabby coat as she sleeps on the lowest shelf of the cat tree. She is happier here than she has ever been in her life. So much so that I doubt the memories of her first four or five years--in that other home--intrude on her daily thoughts. She bears the scars of those times, of being unloved or ignored. She is quick to seek a hiding place when voices are raised and even now is tentative when she approaches us for affection. Her honest delight in being treated with kindness can be sad to see. I doubt she was abused in the conventional sense of the word, but I sense she was ignored or discounted, occasionally allowed to fall from an insecure grasp or kicked out of the way and she came to us convinced that if she didn't beg for food, we would never remember to feed her.

Here, there is always food and warmth and room for one more in our hearts. Our house isn't much but I imagine to this little tabby cat--and others--it must seem a haven of peace and contentment.

Friday, November 04, 2005

3 inches of snow on the ground

A bitter breeze from out of the north speaks of the cruelty of winter...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Melancholy

3 inches of snow on the ground

Clear skies, cold winds from the north...

The snow-covered mountains turn pink in the setting sun before the rising blue showdows obscure them.


My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted grady
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.


--Robert Frost

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

For Our World, The Circle Turns Again...

3 inches of snow on the ground

A quiet turning of the year for me.

I ate myself into a stupor at the Animal Shelter party--coming home about eight and falling across the bed to rest before I could manage to feed the cats.

I started the day by getting up early for a doctor's appointment. I wanted to find out what was causing my back pain, once it became apparent that waiting and wishing it would go away wasn't helping. So I spent most of the morning at the medical clinic and hospital for x-rays. The doctor thinks it is a muscle spasm and prescribed physical therapy but I need to find out if PT is covered by my insurance. I also think that if I can find time to go to PT, I could probably find time to walk and exercise on my own. I also want to ask a friend for a recommendation of which of the local therapists to see.

So, my next project was to make the infamous "litter box cake" for the Shelter Halloween dinner.