fire and ice

fire and ice

Juma Perez

originally posted on

I still have dreams about the volcanos. I am wading through this all consuming fog, but beyond my vision I know the immensity of those rock monsters are there. I’m aware of their presence, even though all i can see are the footprints in the white snow, signs of life before me in the shape of boot soles and trekking poles. Sometimes I wake up in panic. I’m reminded of how the wind storms that captivated me in a white fog, a misty dream, another world, close in like the walls of an asylum. But sometimes the wind brought down ash from the volcanoes. Black, thin sand collecting in all my creases. I’m reminded of how the ash hardens over night, making me one with the volcanoes, making it seem like there is no way out, like I’ve have become a part of the relentlessness.

The day I returned from Iceland, all the geophysicists around the world were waiting on Hekla. Anticipating her wake after her long, long slumber. You see, Hekla, Iceland’s most active volcano, erupts once every ten years, yet has stayed quiet since 2000. The Icelandic Christians know her as the ‘gateway to hell’ or ‘Judas’ home’. Yet her temper, her betraying kiss, has been sedated by long wistful dreams. Hekla and I crossed paths on my way to the west of the land. Where is your wrath? Why are you sleeping? I thought. She stood, exalted above her surroundings, intimidating yet hallowed. Beautiful in her sleep, it was almost impossible to believe that she was the chasm to hell. Oh how easy it is to forget, that when there is grace, there is wrath. And I am hearing the news of her mild fissure eruption. There were signs of this coming. And there are signs of it getting worse. The storms which caught me in the highlands were the ripples of her rouse. Then, I did not know her snore was the cause of the rumbling which shook me in the cold, cold nights.

Fire and Ice are friends I tell you. They spit gossip as far back as the 9th century. And you may not find them together, but they always come after each other, black rocks and slithering lava, not too far from white ice fields dusted in snow. It is how they keep you coming back, they burn you, then cool your wounds, you trip off their cliffs and get caught in their mossy in betweens.

Their land so sacred and dangerous, but they’re friends I tell you. And we are just strangers to toss in their storms, strangers who come back, begging for more.

rebecca thomas
magdalin livignston

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