Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Tonight I sat riveted on the couch watching a Nova about Mount St. Helens while Ryan and the boys played in the back yard. It was fascinating. They showed the "Blast Zone" where thousands of trees had been knocked flat by the pyroclastic flow, the lake where all the fish had been killed instantly by all the volcanic ash that had been dumped into it, the entire side of the mountain disintegrating and sliding into the valley. Then Ryan came in to take the kids to bed.

"Not now, Baby, I'm watching Nova!" is not what I said, but it is much funnier.

He said he'd take Wes up and encouraged me to continue to indulge my sick fascination. Charlie stayed behind so I wrapped him up in a quilt and pulled him into my lap for a little nerdy bonding time.

They showed some cute little woodland creatures that had managed to survive the eruption and some pretty purple flowers that had adapted to grow in volcanic ash. The gophers eat the purple flowers! They mix the ash with native soil! Then there are elk and salamanders!! There are phytoplancton in the lake making oxygen and now there are fish again! Charlie this is SO COOL! The ecosystem coming back to life! It's a miracle!

Charlie was very concerned about the trees.

"What happened to the trees, Mama?"

"The volcano knocked them down. Volcanoes are very powerful and there are none near here. Look! That man is a scientist! Would you like to be a scientist one day?"

"Why did the volcano knock the trees down?"

"Let's listen and find out!" I chirped. "There are only volcanoes very far away from here." I chose not to mention the fault we live on. It's inactive. I'll leave his college geography professor to clean up that mess.

We watched in silence for several more minutes of sweeping views of the smoldering caldera interspersed with animations of tectonic plates pushing together and generating magma in a bubble underneath a mountain. The bubble got bigger and bigger and bigger and KA-POW-YA! Smoke! Steam! Mountain collapsing! Cut back to the flattened old-growth forest!

Charlie covered his ears with his hands.

"Are you scared, sweetie?"

Tiny voice "Yes."

"You're not going to get hurt by a volcano, Buddy. This one is very far away. Why don't I take you upstairs for bed?"

He readily agreed.

At the top of the stairs he said to me "Mama that was NOT a nice video. I want to put on a NICE video. Volcanoes are NOT NICE."

Ryan said Charlie had a lot to say about volcanoes knocking down trees while he was getting his jammies on. Complete with vivid hand motions.

I've agreed to handle all volcano-related night wakings for the foreseeable future.


Sarah said...

At least your kid LEARNS something from the not nice videos you show him. My brother showed Harry the XMen movie, and now Harry thinks bad guys are going to sneak into his room while he sleeps. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

You are in for it! I'm 71 years old and I still have volcano nightmares, although I've never been closer to one than Charlie has!

Alyssa said...

I flipped by that last night, but didn't end up watching it, so thank you for the summary! :D

AJU5's Mom said...

Charlie definitely has a love of plants! Hopefully someday you will be able to show him that even though the volcano hurt some plants, it made others grow.

apathy lounge said...

Where did you go?? You never come by anymore.

sarah said...

LOL! Poor guy!

I woke up this morning to find my father watching "Big Cat Diary" with Ethan on the Discovery channel or something like that. I got there in time to change the station as a lionness was about to pounce on a wounded zebra. Thanks, Dad! A little light viewing while Ethan has his pancakes!

when I explained to my dad that it might not be appropriate viewing for a 4 year old, my dad said, "Well, he's got to learn how the world works sooner or later!"

Because he's likely to see a lion mauling a zebra in the school yard any day now...

(also? As alternate viewing, my dad wanted to watch TLC's "Deadliest Catch")

Kyla said...


Josh watched that one, too! I went to sleep. LOL.