I grew up camping in the Cascade Range, fishing the pristine alpine lakes up along the backbone of Oregon’s high mountains. I knew the waters of that country as a kid, and, later as an aquatic ecologist. As the helicopter flew me and several other scientists to the shore of Spirit Lake, I kept reminding myself that the waters of the blasted landscape around the volcano would bear no resemblance to the waters of my childhood. Even so, as I stepped out at the short of Spirit Lake, I was awestruck. The world had been rocked. All my boyhood recollections of cold, clear alpine lakes and streams in the shadows of tall conifers were blasted away, changed into a landscape of uniform gray. My extensive scientific knowledge of the ways these waters once w as was simply irrelevant. It was a staggering and disorienting encounter. My first footsteps into that alien landscape began an important journey into scientific and personal discovery.
From In the Blast Zone, page 84. (OSU Press, 2008)
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