If you have to be alone on Christmas, Amalfi is a pretty good place to be. Last Christmas was spent on the Oregon coast with the family and the lover and I would be a liar to say the contrast didn’t plague my heart. Luckily, there be mountains out there. If one needs to flee the blues one need only follow the steep and winding paths of the old Amalfi republic deep into the mountains. Yee shall find huts and relics of a time long gone. Yee shall also find forests that are as enchanted as they come and with a little luck…illumination. I don’t know if I found the last one or not but I did find lemon groves, stunning views of the sea, cobras ( in a nice call back to the streets of Marrakech ) and rubbery legs. Most importantly, I found some Christmas spirit.
A couple of quick jaunts on public transportation ( can I just say what a treat it is to experience a country with real public transportation ) found me in the valley beneath Vesuvius.
I have always been fascinated by the doom of cataclysm. The city was still recovering from an earthquake 17 years prior when the doom came. Apparently, the eruption of 79 was the impetus for the creation of the latin term for volcano (mons igneus in case you were wondering). Wandering the streets of the ruined one finds the obvious irony that the very thing that destroyed the region also preserved it for perpetuity. There is a gallery below, as per usual, but I wanted to point out one picture I am somewhat proud of because for the first time I took a photo in which I was actually trying to make a statement and that statement is of a feeling I now experience.
This centaur faces Vesuvius. That the pyroclastic flows and ash clouds will surly not be stopped and that the doom is sealed regardless I find heroism and poetry in the defiance. You would come for me fate?!?!?! You expect me to cower or flee from your dark purpose? Well then Fuck You! I will stand, defiant, to the last. Let the doom set upon me, I shall meet it with my head high and belief in my heart…Or something like that. LOL if you read the last post it should be even more clear now that I’ve definitely got some Byron in me. Even when there is no hope, there is hope.
It has been a difficult road so far and I have no doubt that pitfalls, disasters and calamities lie ahead. I also know that bright days, joys not yet foreseen and the embrace of new adventures also await. As this year nears its end I cannot escape taking measure of the cataclysm and renewal this year has wrought upon me. I feel balance, not because of some great centering, rather because the opposing sides of elation and despair have pulled on me in equal portion. As much as I hate to admit it, today calls for some Pink Floyd. Later.
It takes about 2 minutes for this song to get going, but hang in there!