I watched the brilliant documentary film Into the Inferno recently which delves into the mythology of volcanoes. Since moving to Puna, Hawaii nearly 3 years ago and living through the Leilani Estates eruption in 2018, I have developed a love and interest in all things volcanic. Note: at the moment the volcanoes here on the Big Island are asleep.
The recent Taal eruption has garnered a lot of media attention however it is important to remember that there are about 20 active volcanoes erupting at any given day around the world.
"Only a Pompeii and a Herculaneum were needed at the foot of Kīlauea to make the story of the eruption immortal." - Mark Twain, "Roughing It"
We hike over the miles of moonlit lava rocks, to the base of the volcano, the glowing crater above us. What are the odds of a girl from Brazil, Australia, California and a queer ex-Amish poet gathering at the Kalapana lava flow?
Nambe sings a spiritual song about creation and giving thanks. Molten lava flows around and beneath us, bursting through rocks and spilling into the rainy night.
On the way back I fall, Pele kissing me as a "kumu" later tells me. I carry a scar beneath my eye today.
We get lost on the way back, wandering for hours over the onyx landscape. A flashlight beams at us suddenly.
"I'm Nate the Great from Wisconsin but at the moment I'm not so great - I'm lost."
Nate the Great from Wisconsin joins our caravan as does a couple whose cell phones guide us to the road, well after midnight.
Nambe holds my hand the entire way. Nate is reunited with his friends and we walk the road back together.
Back to the moments at the flow, huddled near the lava's warmth against the cold rain. Back to Nambe's song. Back to the fiery streams.
I sit by the girls, watching the embers glow. The moonlight is gone, with only the alchemy of Pele...
|Kalapana lava flow (December 1, 2017)|
When you live in the Ring of Fire volcanoes are never far from your mind. I follow #volcanowatch on social media and tune in religiously to a volcano podcast!
What do volcanoes mean to you?
Chances are nothing but Into the Inferno reminds us how we are interlinked to the most primal force of nature on the planet!