The crunch of the blades against the picón

The residents’ association of La Laguna, burned by the effect of the lava. | | ANDRÉS GUTIÉRREZ

Beats are barely heard except for the distant crunch of the shovels against the picón, which the few residents who can return through Las Martelas de Abajo dig up to unload their roofs of ash and confirm that their houses are still standing, although, for more than a month, everyone sleeps under other roofs. The rest is silence. And tremor.

Security officers take air temperature samples. | | ANDRÉS GUTIÉRREZ

The so-called “colada number 8”, in the UME nomenclature, remains detained at the gates of the Church of San Isidro Labrador, built stone by stone by its neighbors in the 60s, as if the lava were bending to the Feet of the prayers left in the air before leaving the neighborhood in crowded trucks down the street. But also spreads like a bad omen down the parallel artery and it spreads petrified by the large lot of the adjoining sidewalk where, on Pilar Day, hours before the total evacuation of La Laguna was decreed, the neighbors crowded against this balcony overlooking the Tajogaite to guess the trajectory of the languages.

That morning the last beers were opened in the Central Bar, where so many journalists were supplied during the first weeks of the explosion, and that today is a trail of debris and broken glass behind a charred white facade. Dust on dust on the cobblestones of the central square, the epicenter of encounters and hugs in the Llanense neighborhood, where someone wrote with his finger on the ash floor “Viva La Laguna!”, Next to a red candle of the parish, Like a call to hope before darkness


60 days of La Palma volcano eruption

The fade to black of La Laguna is sensed through the road access through Las Martelas de Abajo, which can only be done under the supervision of the security forces, where ghosts fly over abandoned courtyards, withered crops, decayed greenhouses, The rocking chairs swinging in nothingness

However, the map of the devastation opens up like a great panoramic wound from the top of La Laguna Mountain, where the gaze is still unable to redraw this violent landscape broken by lava and fire.

In the abyss between this mountain and its namesake, Todoque, the black stain of the volcano It stretches along an intricate network of disparate lava tongues, where the smoky slopes around the Las Hoyas area of ​​Tazacorte reveal that much burned land remains to heal. Time and space are fragmented in the retina of Cumbre Vieja, between what the lava took away, what threatens and what isolates, like those small intact redoubts that survive like islets in the middle of a siege, like microcosm of lives stolen and exposed to the blows of chance.

When will it be possible to return to these places if they remain unscathed, but with no return paths, when the storm passes? And what will happen to the neighborhoods split by lava, like Las Manchas or Las Norias, with fields half-buried like amputated bodies under the sea?

Beyond the magma arm that lifts the last exclusion wall from the southIn the contour of these last two nuclei, the neighboring towns on the other side, from Jedey to Puerto Naos, are further than ever in this green valley shattered.

However, the landscape that hurts the most is the one that no longer exists: those alleys, shortcuts, slopes, shops, houses, schools, gardens, parks, bars and buildings that make up the sentimental toponymy of a place, as in Todoque and La Laguna. , almost extinct in palm tree cartography, and whose original map can only be deciphered in memory albums packed in drawers or cardboard boxes. Therefore, the most terrifying landscape is the entire island, reconfigured like a puzzle of voids and enigmas that continues to rise into the air with each explosion of Cumbre Vieja. On the other side of the walls, thousands of evacuated palm trees wonder if there will be enough stones to rebuild their temples, if the last neighborhood where the bells sounded is still standing.


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