It was, instead, the restless Fuego (Fire) Volcano, less than a dozen miles away that with one "burp" shut down all international air traffic to Guatemala and dusted the gorgeous colonial city of Antigua with grey ash. Antigua, like most Central America capitals we have visited in the Ring of Fire, has fallen multiple times as the earth's plates slipped and slid and cathedrals tumbled while adjacent homes crashed into ruble.
These experiences simply seemed to increase our hunger to gaze deeper into these conical forces of nature, and we hurried onward to Nicaragua where visitors can peer into a crater filled with poisonous gasses and rising steam to see the heartbeat of the planet in flowing magma as red lava bubbles to the surface. Even the story from our local guide during the hike to the crater about his experience a year ago on Telica did not dissuade us. The volcano erupted while he and four girls were peering over the same rim! The story, in fact, made us more curious to experience it ourselves. People ask us about health and safety while we travel. We get our vaccinations, take our pharmacy of western miracles with us, and are careful of where we go, who we trust, what places we wander during the day or night. So what draws us to creep on our bellies along side tarantulas and scorpions to the edge of a volcanic crater knowing the power it is barely restraining in that one moment? Why, as we write this, do the cones across the plains outside of our bus window beckon us with their majestic views commanding the landscape?
We can hear Johnny Cash's lyrics in our heads, knowing that there is truth to the seductive ring of fire. His lyrics are about love, and our experiences are about landscapes; however, both lead to being drawn into something bigger and more powerful than our minds can fathom.
I fell into the burning ring of fire,
I went down, down, down,
And the flames went higher.
And it burns, burns, burns,
The ring of fire, the ring of fire.
Posted in Granada, Nicaragua. Images are of our visit to Pacaya Volcano, the ring of fire map, the aftermath of Fuego's eruption, Sally's first view of Telica's crater and the rubble from Antigua's earthquake.