It is hard to get uninterrupted sleep these days.
Full disclosure - I have a bad stomach. Indigestion. A burning sensation at times.
Deep inside me there is this bloated gut wrenching feeling that keeps me awake at night. I try to catch some sleep during the day but then it is hard to do that nowadays with all the noise and footsteps around me.
This is a bit hard to explain. I am not a sociable being, in fact quite the opposite. I am reclusive. The opposite of gregarious – whatever. I stand firmly through the night in solitary silence. Deeply contemplative. Magnificently serene. And yet very remote and inaccessible. Splendidly alone I should add as I stand quietly over this stunning view of the Gulf.
People do not understand that strange and scary things can happen when I am disturbed. Even a small tremor can cause a huge outburst inside me. I keep waking up for a smoke occasionally and I shake things up just a bit, to let people know that they should not disturb my peace.
Many years ago, when I was a lot younger and full of fiery spirit, I remember blowing my top suddenly. It led to a huge disaster. This was so sudden and unexpected that it took everyone by surprise. Something inside me just broke loose and I started spewing huge amounts of hot material. I couldn’t stop myself. The top part of me literally collapsed. It felt as though rivers of fire were flowing down my sides. I could see people running for shelter. Women and children cried uncontrollably. But I couldn’t save anyone, let alone console them. Dogs barked their heads off. Horses started neighing and tried to break free. Some fell on their feet looking up at me and up at the skies praying for divine intervention. I didn’t know what to say to them. Everything inside and outside of me seemed to be burning.
Many people were killed in that eruption. The picture you see above is of the plaster cast of a girl caught in the tragic instant of her death.
It had continued for 3 days. The whole area was buried under 20 feet of ash. Including all the big private houses of the rich in the best-known residential district, all the majestic Temples, the Grand Theater, and the imposing Basilica with the ancient graffiti on its walls. It included the spacious Forum with its large rectangular plaza and arcade with columns, the luxuriously decorated baths for men and women, the swimming pools, the oil & sand massage rooms and the changing rooms. The pubs – including the famous Grande Taberna. The efficient bakeries with the millstones. And of course, the rooms in the 25 brothels, with all the decorative small paintings on the walls illustrating the services offered.
No one was spared from my wrath. This happened more than 2000 years ago. August 24, 79 AD to be precise. That is when people in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia witnessed my most destructive self.
Anyway. I’m good now. Enjoying a peaceful nap until my next eruption...
The sun is out after a week of cloudy weather. The Gulf of Naples looks panoramic. The beautiful island of Capri eyes me coyly from the distance. The deep blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea blink at me. I think I hear the wind whisper my name.
My name is Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius. They say I have the license to kill. But behind those clouds I’m just a weary volcano looking for a peaceful place to hide my guilt.