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Few natural disasters can match a volcanic eruption for the total destruction of a familiar landscape. Journalist Christine Colasurdo first visited Spirit Lake, which is at the base of Mount St. Helens, in Washington State as a child in 1970. When her parents purchased a cabin there in 1977, Colasurdo planned to make the area her permanent home. The volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980 not only destroyed a beloved setting, but permanently ended Colasurdo's plans for living and working at Spirit Lake. Her work is a graceful blend of personal observations (pre- and post-eruption), scientific documentation of volcanic activity, and the earlier-than-expected regeneration of life and landscape. An active environmentalist, Colasurdo addresses the effects of logging and reseeding in the area. Her book is a testament to the resilience of both landscape and human spirit.