The monster on the horizon

The monster on the horizon

This last week we were in the Bay of Naples as I tried to get good photographs of, and from, Mt. Vesuvius for use in my sabbatical book project on Pliny the Younger’s letters about the A.D. 79 eruption. Simon was on a school field trip in the same area, and the weather was supposed to be brilliant all week (it was; 58 and sunny), so it seemed the best time to go.

Both Simon and Jakob had twice been up the mountain; the former had made the 20-minute cindery climb from the parking lot even at age two; the latter I had to carry both times, so I was grateful that Micah was willing to hike, though he was fairly apprehensive during the approaching drive, constantly asking whether the volcano would blast off while we were up there. Assurances that Vesuvius had been sleeping since 1944 did not appear to help.

On the way up, we noticed some new artistic installations built into and cut out of knuckled outcrops of frozen lava; Micah and Jakob immediately insisted on jumping out to climb around:

Micah rustles up some courage

Micah holds the coin he intended on throwing into the volcano

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