Jose Miguel Camacho was born a day of terminal downpour. It was raining so much in Las Manchas that day that to protect the birth they covered the interior bedroom with a tent, once the roofs of the house had been converted into a sieve. Eight years earlier, on the day of San Juan in 1949, the eruptive mouth of El Duraznero opened, and with it two more that until the following August 4 were vomiting the matter of hell over Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte, Mazo , Fuencaliente and the two breñas, Alta and Baja.
That eruption, has binoculars focused on a building in humacera within the new stream that threatens La Laguna, disrupted ravines, ravines, spillways, caiders and springs. And the phenomenal cyclone that swept the island in the midst of Camacho’s birth turned the lavas of the San Juan volcano into a black monster that is responsible for a large part of the 22 to 34 dead, according to counts, who were left floating among picones.
What the eruption did not do was finished off by the hurricane: Everyone was shaking / seeing so much water running. / No one could believe it / That so many souls it carried. / Later when it cleared up, / that people gathered, / I have this in mind when it started in Media Luna / continued for the Montes de Luna, / Las Manchas and Fuencaliente, writes the witness Emiliana Pestana.
The map that the poet Pestana draws in letters was one of infinite poverty. And the splash of the storm gave him a final blow. Many succumbed to the catastrophe of January 57, but others turned to Venezuela and Cuba following in the footsteps of those who had already marched before with the San Juan, such as Camacho’s own father, who remembers a postwar childhood without electricity or electricity. drinking water.
José Miguel studied by candlelight, the oil lamp and the Petromax, that oil lamp that illuminated the caverns with its incandescent synthetic silk shirt, used as a life preserver in the drilling of mines and wells. And a candle was his particular seismograph from when the Teneguía blew up on October 26, 1971. I was brooding for high school “and the previous tremors would knock down the candle spilling the spell on the table.”
Six or seven months before, “an aunt of mine asked me, don’t you hear some noises that seem to come from El Hierro?”.
But no. They were not from the meridian, but just a bit further down the coast of Fuencaliente.
That second volcanism was a spectacle of marksmanship, elegant in locating, meek in erupting. “We used to go in trucks to see him at night,” he illustrates without letting go of the binoculars. With that deluded geological pachorra the valley and the plains later prospered. Those who marched came back with a pellet. José Miguel continued studying. Walking up to 14 kilometers to catch the bus that will take him to the institute.
At that time they used to ride in La Cucaracha de Gabriel, a wooden carriage. And to go to Santa Cruz, they would take the eight-seater micro from Caramiche on a three-hour journey through narrow roads where it crossed once a day with the Correo, piloted by Alberto, while Camacho’s father helped to fertilize the badlands with topsoil brought from La Breña and Monte de Toribio with a BMC Perkins engine.
This is how Puerto Naos, Las Hoyas, El Remo, Charco Verde … were planted, carpeting the cutting lava with ocher with up to 70 centimeters of material, accommodating it with the hands, with shovels and with iron buckets. That Titans’ effort turned the valley into an old encyclopedia painting. An orchard at ground level from which the nativity scene banana soon sprouts. And next to the farms, the houses and the mansions with packaging. Where there was no light bulb until almost the day before today, its own light shone, until the new volcano ordered it to stop.
José Miguel Camacho himself and his family settled in new houses, and took over their farms. He prospered as a professor of Electromechanics in the Army, after going through educational centers in Gran Canaria, and he also collected a delicious Spanish in which he expresses himself to the point of rapture, alchemying catastrophic poetry.
And without letting go of the binoculars.
What he observes while giving the story away is what remains of a trough that is barely visible with the naked eye. Above, the building that marks the reference of the place, emitting much more dark smoke than when Camacho recounted his birth. Below, alive but hidden from view, the last house left to the surname, the sky of the volcano and the cyclones.