Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RELEASE (08/02/18)
TITLE: Mt. St. Stephen
By Stephen Kimball
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Several small earthquakes had occurred in the weeks leading up to the June 13 eruption indicating that the magma may have begun moving below the surface. The most significant was a 4.2 quake that shook the whole house early Sunday morning, June 10th when heated magma entered the volcano's groundwater system, causing a steam-driven explosion.
“How many times have I told you that there is to be no screen time before church on Sunday morning’s?!! I don’t understand why you continue to defy me on this! There will be no electronics all day today, understand!”
Blah, blah, blah, blah…
Things only got worse from there. After a small eruption of my own, I retreated to my bedroom and proceeded to turn on my favorite radio station – another Sunday morning no-no. Upon discovery, a much more significant steam column arose from the head of the volcano, setting off the smoke alarm in the hallway. We did make it to church but after returning, somewhat less severe outbursts continued late into the day.
Mt St. Stephen had been dormant for several months. But these steam explosions signaled the volcano's violent return from hibernation. Unbeknownst to me, internal pressure was building and a bulge in the heart of the mountain was growing as the lava continued to heat up the water beneath the volcano. Things had been relatively quiet through the school year but the summer always held challenges as Dad and I always seem to have different expectations of what “summer break” means.
At 11:16 on June 13 the pressure had reached the breaking point.
Mom was away on a business trip. Dad was busy trying to create something that would prove to all who questioned his culinary ability that he is an equal to mom in the kitchen (not). He was doing fine until the phone rang. Holding an important conversation while attempted to prepare and serve a meal to the two of us was probably a mistake.
“Guys, come set the table and sit down for lunch.”
My brother and I were in a full on “discussion” about something stupid and being loud about it as we sat down opposite each other at the table. Dad covered the speaker on the phone and made it clear that the volume level was not appreciated. I was fuming at my brother who was rocking on the back legs of the dining chair. As soon as dad rounded the corner to go back into the kitchen and finish his conversation I gave the table a good shove.
Reese’s eyes were like saucers as the chair began to fall over backwards. Arms flew, chocolate milk flew further - spotting the ceiling and covering my brother who was now lying flat on his back screaming at me at the top of his lungs. I instantly regretted it, but it was too late. This was the earthquake that set the climactic eruption into motion.
The phone melted in dad’s hand as partly molten, high-pressure gas and steam suddenly exploded in our general direction. The near-supersonic lateral blast, loaded with volcanic debris, was devastating. Thermal energy released during the eruption was equal to 14 megatons. Two kids were cut down in its wake, relationships instantly reduced to wasteland. Debris and ash covered everything in sight. There was collateral damage as well, as dad had to re-connect with his friend who heard enough of the chaos to warrant a sincere and humbling apology.
Trouble with eruption is that it changes the landscape. When a crater is created, it’s there to stay. Words spoken in anger cannot be taken back. While apologies and forgiveness may be sincere, the damage is done and the memory lingers forever.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 - “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.”
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