Before this post gets to the “spin around Etna” photo portion … I am compelled by feelings both obligatory as BWIIC and personally (we’ll get to that) to “try” and paint a picture of Mt. Etna (“who!” and I am intentionally using “who” …I will refer to from this point on as simply “Etna”) in words.
Salvo, our Vulcanologist (yep! I…the BWIIC am 62 years old … a science guy …and had never met a Vulcanologist …a real one until a day or so ago…. as a matter of fact …every time I heard Senora Lucia or Dr. Donato mention the word I would have an inner smile and visions of some Leonard Nimoy”phile” at a Trekkie gathering in Sioux Falls, SD) was the real deal. And by “real deal … I am not referring to his expertise in the field of Vulcanology. Without question …it was epic..titanic… (fill in your own word if needed). The “real deal” aspect of Salvo was this “infectious” passion about Etna that seemed to emanate from him …as if …. we were watching some computer generated portion of an episode of Ancient Aliens (these would be …really good ancient aliens) on the Nat Geo channel.
Salvo introduced your Bulldog to not only “appropriately complex” technical data, facts, timeline, and historical significance …. but he was able to weave this very hard to describe “relationship that clearly exists” between Etna and the people who live around her, work with her, and breathe the air she breathes. To Salvo ..(and countless others) his life is shaped by his personal relationship her. At times … it was palpable …good palpable…great palpable.
On a couple of occasions for the BWIIC it was very close to tear-up uncontrollably and break down in front of your son/daughter …palpable. Both my parents have been hanging around with God and all the other Mom’s and Dad’s who boarded that train …for a long time. I chat with them …. when you least expect it. So … there we were …. nope … there “I” was calmly snapping pics and listening to Salvo describe the different nuances of her personality that can be learned by what hue of make-up she has chosen to wear. A brown-ish smokey-eye shadow for iron II (or III) oxide) … a lively, fun shade of “blondes have more fun” yellow for a sulphur (when in Europe ..spell as the Europeans) compound. So there I was … and WHAMMO … “Oh hi Alfred” … Muriel Humbert Poole shows up on one of the lava bombs next to me …hits me in the head with a 2″ x 4″ (with a Big Pappy sort of swing) and I go from the inside of one of her (Etna’s) craters to tromping around with mom in some sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic … area of geologic significance. Mom (in 1939) graduated valedictorian from Bryn Mawr with a degree in …yep … g-e-o-l-o-g-y. 1939 … clearly the “path less traveled.” She always traveled with her geologist’s hammer (sits in a drawer near my desk for the emergency mom fix as needed) and talked…and taught …. and questioned .. my sister and me through countless walks, hikes, treks all over the planet. She (Etna) had made it abundantly clear … that she truly was a far more than a simple volcano …she was part of so many lives of so many people…. a almost intimate part that is almost impossible for me to even begin describe … a part that shapes perspectives, thoughts, interactions, choices … virtually every aspect of the unique culture that exists in her sphere of influence. In any event … thank you Etna.
I “know” that you daughter/son felt something ..at some point … most likely they don’t even know that it happened or that they felt it …but at some point it will peek out and say “Hi.” Salvo was so full of passion …passion…passion ..and more passion. He was so full of passion that he “had to” take us on a jaunt down the outside of a huge crater to a lava cave/hole/thingy surrounded by incredibly beautiful flora …some backlit by the rays of the sun. (FYI … Senora Luchia, Dr. Donato and the BWIIC will never …e-v-e-r! forget the climb back “up” the side of the crater… as a memory it will bring a smile … but as a current event on the day … it was as close to being “voted off the island” as you could get.)
Although I’ve digressed (significantly) and blabbed about Mom …way too much …I’ll reign it in and state for the record … YOUR VERY OWN BULLDOG was treated to an experience that will remain with them for the rest of her/his life. Talk is cheap! I get that. But this is anything but simple talk …and cheap at that. This is as real as something so intangible can get. The energy was overwhelming. There was far more than the simple energy of the molten magma. It was Etna’s energy that touched your Bulldog. “Her energy.”
I’m throwing in the towel … I’m beginning to feel like Richard Dreyfus in “Close Encounters of a……” I don’t want to be found in the lobby in a few minutes making a model of her out of pastries, mortadella, and pasta.