In 2000, Steve Harris retired from the Humanities & Religious Studies Department, where he served ten years as chair, and is now busy raising a four–year–old grandson, Kevin, and writing books on a variety of topics. In 2005, he published a new all–color edition of The New Testament: A Student’s Introduction (McGraw–Hill) and a thoroughly revised third edition of Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes (The Mountain Press). A seventh edition, also in an all–color format, of Understanding the Bible (McGraw–Hill) is scheduled for publication in February, 2006.
Steve is currently teaching an adult education class on “Evolving Concepts of God” at St. Mark’s Methodist Church, Sacramento, using his text, The Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (co–authored with department colleague Bob Plazner, McGraw–Hill, 2002). McGraw–Hill also issued a fourth edition of Steve’s Classical Mythology: Images and Insights (with co–author Gloria Platzner) in 2004.
Fortunately for Steve, preparing a book like Fire Mountains of the West is rewardingly different from working on Greek myth or biblical literature. The great advantage of researching a book on volcanic hazards of the Pacific Coast is that it requires visiting some of the West’s most spectacular scenery, from the Mono–Inyo Craters in east–central California, to the glacier–clad volcanoes of Washington, Oregon, and northern California.
Studying deposits of geologically youthful eruptions takes one on an exciting tour of the region’s topographical variety, from examining pumice layers around forested glacial moraines on valley floors to the icy, wind–swept summit craters of Mount Rainier (14,411 feet) and Mount Shasta (14,162 feet). Research excursions are a wonderful incentive for outdoor exercise.
Although being the sole care–giver for a young child necessarily curtails plans to travel abroad, this summer Steve introduced grandson Kevin to some Western natural attractions, including Crater Lake, Mount Hood, the Colombia River Gorge and a rain forest in Olympic National Park. by the time Kevin reaches Middle School, he should be ready for the experience of witnessing an active volcano in Hawaii or Alaska.