Love and Other Unexpected Explosions

In late April 1980, Danielle St. John took up residence in her mother’s womb. Her parents lived in Pasco, an agricultural town in southern Washington. Pasco is part of the Tri-Cities area, which had a population boom 30 years earlier because of the nearby Hanford Site, a now-decommissioned nuclear production complex. This site is (in)famous for developing the plutonium that was used for the atomic bomb that the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki.

A few short weeks after tiny Danielle was added to the in-utero population of Pasco, on Sunday, May 18th, Mount St. Helens erupted a mere 200 miles away from where the St. John family lived. Three hours after the 8:32am eruption, volcanic ash covered her parents’ whole yard. Surprisingly enough, Danielle doesn’t recollect the blast — which her dad says was like a sonic boom — so I guess it must have happened while she was in the middle of a deep morning nap in the womb.

May 18, 1980. (USGS)

2,700 miles away, a 5-month-old baby boy in Pennsylvania was similarly oblivious to both seismic events. An eruption that forever sculpted the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, and a conception that forever sculpted the landscape of two human hearts. (Not to mention the as-yet-uncharted landscape of two tiny hearts yet to come.)

In the emotional continuum, true love is somewhere between a volcanic eruption and an atomic bomb.

And in the space-time continuum, my own true love was born right in the confluence of the two.

I will love pondering this fact as long as I live.

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