Sunday, November 27, 2016

Life on Mt. Etna - After the Gadabouts Are Gone

It’s wet and foggy. And some of us are scared. The long days are now a thing of memory. We are steeped in darkness. And all the while the mountain rumbles, all through the night. And all those souls who visited us this summer and autumn, where are they now? Back home in their beds, their comfortable lives, with their brightly lit screens, telling the world what a great place it is here. But they’re not here. Harvest has come and gone. The warm, long days have come and gone. And the Etna worshippers have also come and gone. And now the work for the future begins on this desolate mountain, spewing fire and ash, all through this dark, cold winter of our discontent.

And so it goes, year after year. Just when we’ve amassed all our strength, they gather us, squeeze us, with their gnarled feet, the sing-song music in the background, making it appear they might be dancing to our death. And we show them, don’t we? We die, the life pressed out of us, to return in another life. A life not as rigid or stable or dependent upon La Mutagna anymore. We are free like butterflies, free to fly all across the earth and share this new life with all of our adoring worshippers, who will drink us, hoping for a little of the life and the fire that gave us this rebirth. That is why they love us? To become immortal as only we can?

Yes, they want to know the secret to life everlasting. The mountain gives it to us, the fire, the ash, the fear. The secret is simply to die. And what comes next, well, that is what everyone is clamoring for from us.

Rebirth and life everlasting is all the rage among the acolytes right now. We’ve been enduring it for this endless interval. Through wars, and conquests, through the passions and desires of men, as they trollop and stomp, and cut and slash and rip the heart of the world out. And we simply come back, again and again.

Tonight though, it seems a little different. Somehow ominous. When some of us on this hill were younger there was a period like this, in 1928. Mongibello above us was pressing out new works from Hephestus’ forge and once before in the month of November, the world stopped and turned to look. And then they went about their way, advancing towards another abyss. That’s usually the way it is. They look, in awe, and then they forget and go back to what they were doing. And then it happens again. Men never learn, so it seems, from this perch on the side of the volcano.

But that is not why we are here. We are of the earth and fire. We are light from the sun and rain from the heavens. And we are simply vines and our children, these precious grapes. The world of people, they think they are what run the world. The world doesn’t even know they exist. And the world doesn’t care either.

I’ve lived long enough to know who cares and who doesn’t give a whit. The old farmer who comes up here in his little cart, he sees us. He cares. The winemaker down the hill, he looks after our babies, gives them new life. Even some of the worshippers, they love us, when they are around us, or when it suits their purposes. They love to fight over which of us are more natural, while others love to spout like the mountain, over which of us is more powerful. Words, all words. We are all children of La Mutagna. Neither loved nor loathed.

And for now, we are disregarded. We no longer have our little children dangling from our arms. The sun is no longer burning high in the heavens. The days are foggy and cold. And there are fires burning elsewhere to capture the attention of those who flocked to us in better, easier days. We’ll see. We’ll see.

They’ll be back. And if the bowels of Earth don’t unleash annihilation and mayhem, some of us will be here waiting. Not for them. But because this is where we live our lives. On top of this dangerous mountain.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Marco Mareneve said...

Prose poetry that flows like the black red orange lava

Mark said...

Mt. Etna, located in Italy, that place looks magical when I searched through google. I came across a poem, I thought you might like Mr. Alfonso ...

Cloud touch its head
Mesina to Catania
Pray to calm its temper.
In slopes of anguish
as its hold golden keys.
Ashes in soil claims
superb taste feats golden basket.
Beneath and under written history
unreveal current blend in salty sea.
Courages immortal vigor as hero
fire to free its given demons.

Marco Magma said...

No fumarole mefitico here

Lili said...

Mt. Etna.... yes, so magical. I love that poem Mark.

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