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The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.
The biggest, most awesome, most natural firework in the Pacific Northwest--in my backyard--is Mount Saint Helens, though the show, which wasn't sparkly and full of color, was over years ago, and the area in the blast zone is still in recovery. Guess she was more of a super-huge firecracker with only the laws of nature to guide her in whether she exploded or not. Her sister peaks hold the promise of even greater shows that will happen, hopefully, many, many years in the future.

Every time I look at the crater that used to be a mountain and think about the force it took to create it and the new landscape around it, I feel small and helpless to the point of irrelevant and filled with that tension of fright or flight, even though there is no immediate threat of eruption. It's difficult to avoid cliché words like "awestruck" when you think about the power of the blast.

I've been going back to Saint Helens every few years for the past 14 years to show her off to family and/or to see how regeneration is progressing. Hillsides facing the mountain are still scarred and bare, and the piles of debris have only the scantest amounts of vegetation, but everywhere else, recovery is evident. Here's another cliché for you: nature abides. Guess that's where that feeling of irrelevance comes from.

I didn't spend a lot of time taking pictures--I rarely do--but here's a few to open this evening's edition of The Daily Bucket. See below the twisting, orange lava flow.

Spirit Lake with Mt. Adams in the background:
Fire on the mountain--thankfully the only fire, and it (Indian Paintbrush) was everywhere:
With apologies to the wildflower enthusiasts, there were several varieties of wildflowers coming up with the paintbrush, like lupine and white clover, but as I said, I didn't take many pictures or spend time worrying about identifying. Sometimes, just taking it all in is enough.

Back in 2008, the Oregon State University Press published a collection of essays and observations on Saint Helens, the changed landscape, and regeneration by poets, writers and scientists called, In the Blast Zone. I'd love to see a new edition of that book produced and released. Even better, I'd welcome the opportunity to be a part of the team that goes to the mountain.

Your turn: How's the weather in your corner of the world? What's blooming or tweeting or buzzing? Hopefully, nothing is blowing up. St Helens should do us for a long while.  I'll be back and forth to this diary. The weather is dandy now that it's cooled down a little, so I'll be out until the mosquitoes drive me in.

"Spotlight on Green News & Views" will be posted every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. PT and every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. PT on the Daily Kos front page.  Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 05:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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