Morning sun on the volcano
Rick Elkins

I see this photograph and wish I had seen a real volcano. Now I imagine my mother’s voice saying “Rachel, we climbed Mt Teide when you were maybe twenty. It is volcanic. Remember the bad egg smell of the sulphur?” What I actually remember was feeling smugly youthful while she was gasping in the thin air, and around us the land fell away in papery ripples. My thirties were repeatedly the west coast road trip sequence of Shasta, Hood, Baker, Rainier and St Helens volcanoes. I have seen forest fires on their slopes and the orange sky clotted up with smoke. On the Shinkansen between Osaka and Tokyo I have counted down the seconds to catch a lucky glimpse of Mt Fuji. My life has in fact been full of privilege and abundant in great volcanoes. Still, I look at this photograph, and greedily wish to see this actual volcano one day. Outside the window there is snow falling on the bare branches of a Horse Chestnut tree but on my screen there is morning sun on┬áMount Agung, Bali.

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