Friday, April 24, 2009

Volcano View

I had to run into town this evening and as I crested the rise just before our road, I got a clear view of Redoubt Volcano. The juxtaposition of our rustic highway and modest civilzation to the wild, primal energy of the volcano made me glad I am living where such a spectacle can be seen.

I was inspired to drive on for a few minutes until I could fins an unobstructed view of the landscape. Although it doesn't look like it, we are separated from the mountain by a good expanse of Cook Inlet and roughly a hundred miles. So we can enjoy the sight from relative safety.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Frannie Thinks Spring

Nothing has turned green yet but there is sunshine and bird song--and that's enough to entertain Frannie.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Snow is Gone

In the course of just two sunny days, all our snow has vanished. I can't remember a faster break-up. The layers of volcanic dust helped the sun eat away at our last patches and now we can say that the winter is past.

Not that spring is here yet.

The melted snow leaves a monochromatic world of dead vegetation punctuated by skiffs of moon-gray volcanic dust. Break-up is never a pretty season and this year is even worse. While the rest of the country seems to be enjoying blooming flowers and budding trees, we are revisiting the dull-dead end of autumn.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Shadow Play

After the ashfall on Saturday, it was interesting to watch the interaction of snow, volcanic dust and sunlight.

As the sun struck the newly-fallen ash, the ash would absorb the warmth of the sunlight and melt the snow beneath. turning the pale volcanic dust dark with moisture. Where an object cast a shadow on the snow, the edges would be outlined by the dark, damp ash,

The result was strangely-beautiful "snapshots" in the snow of the shadows.

From the Backyard

Denny and I took a walk out back this afternoon. From a rise overlooking our neighbor's yard, we could see Mount Redoubt--and its steam cloud--bright in the sunlight.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


A webcam in Homer records this morning's ashfall...

I don't know why they call it ash.

It isn't ash-y at all. More like fine grit or talc.

It's not even ash, really. It isn't the residue of a fire but rather the result of an explosion. It is rock dust--a fine, gray powder like the glacial silt that blows down the river beds in the dry months, irritating the nose or blocking the sinuses.

But glacial silt is rock dust that has been worn smooth by ice and water. Volcanic dust is brand-new--freshly shattered and sharp-edged. It doesn't just irritate the sinuses--it assaults them.

Denny and I have both been fighting the volcano sniffles since the last ash fall hit us. Running nose, sneezing and headache--not fun! Aspirin helps with the misery.


Redoubt Gives Wake-up Call to Southern Peninsula

Volcanic Dust at Daybreak

The sky began to grow light this morning--then it got dark again. Since this isn't the season when a shower is likely to blow in at dawn, we went to the window.

The sky was dark and precipitation or mist obscured the trees further up the hill.

Denny went out and snatched a handful of the stuff off the hood of the Suburban.

The second dawn revealed a lunar-colored landscape.