Driving into Homer today, I was on the lookout to see just how much ash they got and what the "hit hard" that some people had said was like. I my nose started itching before I was visibly able to see the ash. There is very little snow past Fritz Creek (mile 8 of East End Road) heading into town, so it already looked like a typical dreary, gray spring day. At about mile 3 of EE Road my nose began to itch and I could see what looked like it might be ash on the side of the road. The more I looked (and the further into Homer I got) the more I saw. Where snowpiles in parking lots were melting, a sludge of ash was created. As cars drove down the road clouds of dust? ash? billowed up behind them. Thirty minutes in town and my throat was sore. A few people were wearing masks, but not many. It wasn't something I could smell or feel, but looking closely I could see the signs, and when walking it was even more obvious (and distasteful, and I'm not a particularly finicky person).
ATM's at banks have gone on the blink because of blowing ash and have been shut down, my hearing aids have been behaving erratically in the past few days (they are "delicate electronic equipment!"), I feel grit on my computer keyboard too often (and that is without ashfall here), cars that were dirty before are even dirtier now. People swap stories about "cleaning up" and "how bad was it at your place?" Aaaaaahhhh....nothing like being an Alaskan right now!!
Up where we're at the snow is melting in the warm spring sunshine and the "old ash" from a week or so ago is being exposed again in strange patches like in the photo above. I keep wanting to ski, ache to ski, but it's just not appealing to ski on ash. I've taken up running again, and I'm thinking this is a good summer not to be in Alaska! Normally I relish the clear, untainted air of sea and mountains, but from what I hear, when the snow melts the ash is blowing all over the place. Someone jokingly told me today that the air quality issues we now have remind him of Los Angeles! I'm shaking my head, but not laughing. Of course, this is "natural causes," and who is going to get angry with the Earth for being "earth"?!