This is a continuation of earlier posts. Context is found in previous parts.
Before Away & Beyond, before Alexandria, before even that place that once I believed to be my own Utopia, I called the beautiful Pompeii home. With its richly painted walls and the warm glows at the windows, I was ever safe in the arms of those I loved and who loved me. City of promise, such ideals were built there, such dreams abounded, tended at the fertile foot of the great mountain that we worshipped by day, sheltered beneath at night. The soil was ever green and the simple life in the wiles of the lush fields was more than this one small girl could ever fully appreciate. Such fools we are as children, wishing away those moments of boredom. Oh, what I would give for one more hour in the woods, sharpening my tools with the oil stone, carving by the light of a spring sun.
I sit now, at the outskirts of my childhood home watching the breath of Hercules stir dark clouds to life. Even at this distance I see the impending storm; the great mountain is changing before my eyes. The once protective, fertile ground has dried covered with an ash that strays across the skies carried on the fours winds like hands passing a parchment note to all who must be told, “Vesuvius’ time has come.”
Dusk is falling faster than it should. I know what comes. I’ve heard the stories from others, the tales of Krakatoa, of Falcon Island. I do not think this Vesuvius will rise again from the seas as have its cousins. This Pliny cloud I see building will obliterate a fundamental nexus of sustenance if it cannot be stopped. But who am I, a mere mortal, to tell the gods to cease? Who am I but a slave to fate? If Hercules wills his mountain be reshaped none can will him stop.
Dawn will be a long time coming once this volcano ceases its explosion. Am I blessed to be in Away & Beyond? Am I blessed that Pompeii, the home I still visit so oft is not that place of my advancing years? If Pompeii falls beneath ash and Alexandria remains fragile, where do I call home? This Away & Beyond has no hearth warm enough and no blessed temple that calls to my being. Where is the new day to be?
I turn from the hilltop where I have been sitting for the past months and walk into my small dwelling. There is nothing I can do but wait for the inevitable. Make bread, drink mead, stoke the fire. I will go, one last time into Pompeii before the ash covers all and sear into my mind those places that will soon be lost forever.
Sometimes still I wish that the tsunami had taken me after Atlas shrugged … often I wish. I would not have to watch yet another god take the pieces I so cherish. Ah, but what use is a broken jar, I hear the owl speak softly overhead? What use is the leaking vessel, so badly cracked that even Panacea shakes her head in dismay? Better consigned to the earth where weather and water will return the pot to clay, returned to the soil.
Vesuvius shall blow. I always knew it would. Not for the subtle and quiet exit will be the grand mountain that throws its shadow over all. Even the gods must obey Atropos. When calls the hour, neither mortal nor god can stand in her way. I wait to be burned.