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A Volcanic Reflection

July 3, 2020

Roy Salmond


This month, May 18th marked the 40th anniversary of Mount St. Helen’s eruption. That morning, a 5.1 earthquake triggered an eruption sending an ashen plume 80,000 feet high. 

I was flying from Chicago to Seattle, and the eruption happened while we were almost over Washington state airspace.

With quick instinct and action, our pilot seized this unique moment and opportunity. He came on the intercom saying we’d been granted a fly by at a safe distance. We were diverting off course to see the volcanic explosion. 

All on the plane were excited (those who weren’t kept it to themselves).

Sure enough we soon turned south and flew past Mt. St. Helens, and although miles away the power and awe of the eruption mesmerized us all. The memory stays with me still.

We landed safely in Seattle about half an hour late.

It triggered a reflection of how many events, large and small, happen in our daily lives that will not happen again. And do we divert ourselves from our set path, our routines, and our habitual patterns to experience them? 

The pilot seized the moment, left his flight path, and we witnessed something not only extraordinary, but a happening that would probably not repeat itself in his or our lifetime.

What persuades us to leave our flight path? 

What captures our heart and mind enough to divert us from the known to the unknown?   

Seeking a felt participation in the deeper graces of life, and a generative conversation with surprise, are we flexible in our daily life; supple enough to shift and turn moments into their own seismic significance?

Divert and you will find.


(Seek… and you may find yourself diverted)

The featured image is courtesy of Teressa Mahoney and used with her kind permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project. 


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