The Thing About Ducks

Its May 18th 1980 and it’s a beautiful warm spring morning and I am up early digging the ground for our vegetable garden . I,ve already fed the critters , dogs,chickens and ducks . By now the sweat is pouring and I decided to get a second cup of coffee and have a little rest. Being that I am also a log home builder, I have been up since the first light peeling a round of logs for the cabin that I am building for my customer in Princeton BC. So by now, I am hungry too. My wife comes to the window that looks out over the front lawn and the newly dug garden and hands me a cup of coffee. How much nicer in life can it get than this? She motioned to me to go over and sit by the hill overlooking the beautiful green Lake that was sparkling in the morning sun just below my perch. I am feeling very lucky this morning as I survey the green fields below and watch enviously as a hawk rises in the early morning thermals. Suddenly, a most deafening explosion shatters the serenity and I wonder to myself, must be someone blasting with dynamite,, and a few short minutes later, another blast followed by another. I am very surprised at the strength of the explosion as it seems that it was coming from quite a distance. Possibly as far away as Keremeos, I think to myself. There are some mines over there so this is possible. Soon after , the blasts cease and I continue on with my day back to log home building satisfied with my summation of the origin of the blasts Its now about 4pm and I,m about done and ready to get something to eat. As I,m walking back to the house, I see a grey haze settling down on the distant mountains and since it is May, I assume that rain is soon to be coming down. Well it turns out that this haze is looking more like snow now than rain, It seems to warm for this but soon enough the haze turns into a steady fall of flaky ash. Up until now, I still cannot imagine what is going on. When I get back into the house and the radio is on, we learn that Mount St Helens erupted this morning, almost 300 miles away from us. Now we are watching outside as the flakes are coming down like a fine snow and slowly covering the cars with an ashy coating Then, the strangest thing I ,d ever seen was our ducks coming out of their pond and totally soaking wet and unable to float in the water. The ash I presume has washed the naturally buoyant oil from their feathers and they are just simply soaking wet.
We are 300 miles away from the volcano and I can only imagine what it must be like for the folks that live at the base and surrounding areas. I am again thankful for my life in the beautiful Okanagan countryside and the peace that it offers. The next morning dawns as beautiful as the day before .

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March 11, 2015


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