At some point during this crisis I sort of forgot things were generally closed around the state; malls, theaters, that sort of thing made sense, but I also forgot even small shops were typically closed. Just us and the local burger joint, I suppose. As of May 15, however, a lot of things opened up, but not the malls, theaters and that sort of thing. Smaller shops, bookstores, places where social distancing was a lot easier than the line outside the cinnamon roll shop. It’s a start, but it’s one that will need to be carefully watched. We don’t know exactly where we are in this pandemic, but a quick dip back into panic is likely if we aren’t careful. So, wash your hands.
Have you heard about Mount Saint Helens? No, it’s not erupting again, but it did almost exactly 40 years ago. After weeks of rumbling and warning, it finally erupted on May 18, 1980. With a volcanic explosivity index rating of 5, it was the largest eruption in the continental United States in decades. It killed 57 people, many of whom were caught in the choking dust and rock that followed the blast. It’s a surprise it didn’t kill more, however, as angry groups of homeowners in the area attempted to force Washington to reopen the area, resulting in some of them being able to return home and back into the danger zone right before the eruption. There’s a lesson there, I think.
Oh, have you been keeping track of the saga of the murder hornet? Evidently, bees have little trouble holding their own against the gigantic stinging nightmares-made-real. In some places, they even gather up all their forces and swoop in on the hornet, smothering it. Furthermore, there really isn’t anything murderous about them. They might be pests to a large extent, but they are otherwise not fatal to humans unless you fall into a giant nest or something.
Quick reminder to vote if you haven’t already. Oregon ballots are due Tuesday, May 19. Drop your ballots in a downtown ballot box or elsewhere. There isn’t a lot to say about this election, except to note there is a District Attorney’s race in Multnomah County, along with local measures galore for Oregonians. Make it a point to get your ballot in on time, or, if you’re reading this after the election, go and mark down the next local election for your neck of the woods. But honestly, I think you should read this article when it’s hot off the press!
Finally, between online commencements, final presentations via Zoom and other adaptations expected of students, there hasn’t really been a chance for a lot of pausing and reflection. If you haven’t heard of the importance of stress management, or you know about it but don’t know how to accomplish it, take some time today to explore your options in this important bit of personal mental health hygiene. Stretches at your seat, petting animals, looking at the stars at night, whatever tickles your stay-at-home fancy, it’s all good. Just make sure you put some time into it this week.