VOLCANO!

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

May I interrupt your regular programming to bring you some news that is neither political nor world- or even region-impacting?

I SAW A VOLCANO EXPLODE.

Like actually, you guys. It erupted in front of my face. I felt the heat on my cheeks and heard the lava flow thirty feet below my feet.

The volcano in question is named Fagradalsfjall, and it started erupting in March and hasn’t stopped since. I know this because it was roughly two months ago that literally every person I know in Iceland posted pictures from their hike up to visit the volcano on social media– because remember, kids, if it’s not on the ‘Gram, it didn’t really happen.

I went on my first post-quarantine day with a friend who had gone back in March, so it was cool to hear from him how it had changed in the span of two months. For one, the trail was much better maintained– in that there actually was a trail, because back when Fagradalsfjall first started blowing its top the Icelandic government was still hoping people would actually listen to them when they said “Please don’t go to the very dangerous, lava-filled, unpredictable natural phenomenon.” Obviously, everyone ignored them, because it’s a very dangerous, lava-filled, unpredictable natural phenomenon and WE WANT TO LOOK AT IT!

The hike up the mountain was, in a word, excruciating. It was all uphill (like, what?!?) and I am pretty sure I’m in the worst shape of my life, but I made it up and that’s the important thing.

Obviously, you don’t get to just walk up a hill and see the volcano. Life isn’t like that. That also means that y’all don’t get to open this article and see the volcano. Whereas I walked up a literal mountain, you have to walk through a word mountain. Instead, we first encountered the fresh-baked lava fields, which my friend informed me just didn’t exist back in March. The volcano has been busy.

As you can see, the rocks are still clearly molten on the inside; various points were smoking and there was a heat shimmer hovering over the entire thing. The entire field crackled and popped like a car engine after you turn it off. We took a detour to come face to face with the stones because I wanted to touch them (I never claimed to be clever), and luckily the rock on the outer bits were quite cool. But when I looked up a few feet from where I touched it, the stone was still molten.