Anytime I read about cascade volcanos, I think about my good friend Joel's harrowing piece centered on the Mt. Hood disaster of May, 1986, which only his imperfections as a math student spared him from suffering. The piece is reprised in the first chapter of his book Jerusalem Calling too, one I can self-interestedly recommend with great enthusiasm, since I edited it.
Back when we did the Seattle reading for the first Bad Subjects book in January, 1998 -- within days of the prenatal origins of Skylar, come to think of it -- Joel and I spent the night with guitar player/composer Ross Thompson's brother Giles and his family. Giles lost both his legs below the knee in the disaster. But he lived. Hearing his recollection of the disaster while replaying Joel's piece in my mind was one of the most intense experiences of my life and one which made Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air, which Kim read to me on a camping trip, way more immediate than it otherwise would have been.