I watch from the Autostrada as the explosion of black cloud erupts from the snow-capped peak of Etna. A single long, dark grey cloud forms and snakes towards us. This is not weather, not a rain cloud. This is volcanic dust. Within a matter of seconds my car has changed from silver to black, the streets have gone from pale concrete to dark graphite. It’s raining pebbles of ash!
It bounces off my head as it falls, it carries a pungent smell and follows the direct path of the wind.
Is this what the inhabitants of Pompei experienced before the lava-flood, the toxic gas that caught them for all time in the passion of life, making love?
Out on the street people take snaps on their mobile phones and laugh…”Look at that “ they say. “Wow! This is incredible! Must send to it to my friends.”
What comes next we don’t know, should we be worried, should we laugh it off? As the world takes another battering from flood and wind, from The Philippines to Middle America, from Sardinia to….Here?
A picture forms of life back then, Vesuvius! Did the inhabitants just think it would pass? Did they paint facebook-type messages on their walls. Are we still so ignorant? We’ll know tomorrow.