Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Volcano

I ate a breakfast of fir fir: Injera from the night before, tossed in spices and a sauce, then eaten with more Injera with Injera.  With injera with injera. 

We drove deep into the desert and the sand became black lava rocks.  For 3 hours we bumped and drove our way over huge lava rocks.  My neck couldn’t move by the end of it.  I became very close with my German carmates.  Then we stopped at a herd of camels.  Got out, loaded our sleeping bags and water onto the camels and ate dinner on the rocks until the stars came out.  Then we put on our flashlights, and walked the rest of the 3 hours up to the volcano.  The stars were brilliant and even though I was stumbling over the big rocks, I was still able to look up and appreciate the expanse.  As we got closer to the volcano, the rocks became glasslike and shattered beneath our feet.   We started to smell sulfur and could see the glowing red get bigger and the heat get stronger. 

I got to the top.  I looked over into the big circle of fire.  Magma was bubbling up through the black layer of cooled lava floating on the top.  The magma exploded up and splashed the sides like a Jackson Pollock painting.  And I thought “Oh my god.”  Over and over.  Like a mantra.  “Oh my god.”  It was pulsing and scary and comforting.  I am the goddess of fire and light.  I couldn’t turn away, it was too powerful.  I stayed staring into the pit for at once 2 minutes and 3 hours.  We threw water bottles into the crater to watch them catch fire and sink into the lava.

I am the goddess of fire and light

At 1am, we grabbed our sleeping bags off the camels and laid them far enough away from the volcano so that the sulfur smoke didn’t kill us but close enough so we could still hear the volcano bubbling and crashing.  Like an ocean’s lapping in hell.  I woke up at 5 am, sooty, hair standing up on its own accord held together by dirt, ash and sand, and went to the volcano again.  A few people already had that idea and were there when I got there.  I spent 1 more precious hour with the volcano before hiking again, driving again, taking a plane again, and preparing to leave the country the next morning.  I slept in a plush bed but didn't, have never, slept as deeply as I had next to the living volcano.

Volcano at 6am

No comments:

Post a Comment