Our Daily Sykes #54 – St. Helens Beyond Spirit Lake

At this moment Jean Sherrard is up at Hillside School on the slopes of Cougar Mountain preparing and directing his older students there for a performance two weeks hence of one of the Bard's plays that involves a confusion of twins. It is an old trick borrowed from the classics, I think. In this Hillside production Jean has REAL TWINS playing the part - twins whom he has been directing since the 5th grade - twins who will soon be off to college. I have watched them perform in many Hillside plays and can tell you that they are very good at it. You really should come. What has this to do with Mt. St. Helens? (Read below for Jean's correction of me in this. I have got the wrong play, but still the right twins.) During all of his play-production-marches, Jean has time to do little else. But we will here tease him at least with the thought that he might put up directly below this Horace Sykes #53 of Mt. St. Helens his own view of it - the view he took for our book "Washington Then and Now" - the view that repeats Ellis' black and white photograph of this same scene from close to the same time (within a few unmarked years) that Sykes took his. Jean's repeat was an adventure, which he may repeat for this place by just inserting his text from the book, along with its "then-now" photographs.

Paul, I’ve added in the photo from the book and the accompanying text.

You are mistaken in your description of the play we are currently rehearsing at Hillside. While I have cast the twins in lead roles, they do not play twins but mother and daughter in the Kauffman/Hart classic ‘You Can’t Take It With You’. It was in their first play when they were sixth graders that they portrayed siblings, Viola and Sebastian in ‘Twelfth Night’ – which you, as always, faithfully recorded on video.

Text from our book: Hiking down towards Spirit Lake in late October 2005, I found the sheer scale of destruction on May 18, 1980 incomprehensible. The shell of a recently revived Mount St. Helens puffed out steam across the water. In the eerie stillness, since there were no visual cues to lend any sense of distance or size, I might have been looking at a model of the real thing. This distorted perspective was resolved when I pulled out Boyd Ellis’s postcard. (Printed below) In his photo of an austere morning with the mountain reflected in all its glory, the serrated edges of tree-lined ridges provided a yardstick to measure by. And then it all made sense.
A "real photo postcard" of Mt. St. Helens by Boyd Ellis.

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