The fear of “what is not seen” of the La Palma volcano


At the foot of La Palma trees that mark the main artery from El Paso even Los Llanos de Aridane piles of ash peaks and dry leaves as an allegory of discouragement and the gathering of days. But looking into the spotlight from the Cumbre Vieja volcano You can barely distinguish from the street an orange glow wrapped in the fogger, “if you look at it it seems that it is now more pa ‘inside, but if you listen to it, in the background, it is more enrabiscao”, indicates Antonio Martínez, in charge of the greengrocer Orymar, located at the gates of the center of Los Llanos, almost at the knot between the evacuated slope and the urban heart that continues to sweep away the temper and patience against discouragement.

“If you look at it, it seems that it is now more inside but if you listen to it, deep down, it is more enrabiscao”


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And it is that «the volcano of yesterday is not the same as the one of today», points out a regular client of Triana, who explains that the night before «I went to bed with the volcano in the window and today [por ayer] if I look for it, I can’t find it. The abhorrence of the atmosphere and the spirit prompted yesterday to try to decipher the trajectory of the stranded washes in the slopes of the mountain of La Laguna, blurred behind the thick smoke, but also the destructive potential of that unknown world of magma that trembles under the earth and shakes the dawn.

“I’m much more scared now than before,” admits Pilar, a few meters up, in the cafeteria of the Plaza, while serving natural cuts. “The worst thing is what is not seen, what is not known, and that perhaps, if we knew, would make us want to jump off the boat like rats.” “We are very tired, because we want real information and exact data on lava flows and earthquakes,” adds the waitress.

Sorrow is felt in the air like sulfur and the chain of tremors shakes less than the stories that are crudely repeated in the nakedness of the Plaza. At the table, Justa, almost 70 years old, ran her own nightclub in Puerto Naos, one of the best known in the area, and was just beginning to get out of the parenthesis of the pandemic restrictions when the lava surrounded her little one empire. “A few weeks ago, I gave it up for lost,” he declares. “Now it’s worse, because I already give it up for lost forever.”

Precisely, on the eve of the 40 days of uninterrupted eruption, the sulfur dioxide emissions emanating from Cumbre Vieja predict, according to the direction of the Canary Islands Volcanic Prevention Plan (Pevolca), that the end of the eruption is still “far away.” “I miss him, at least, another two months”, predicts Pilar, who adds, almost in a whisper, that “the palmeros are much of a place in the worst, but the worst does not seem behind but to come.”

On the other side of the Plaza, Martínez supplies his greengrocers with vegetables from the north of the island, “where I have to clean them of ashes.” The bulk of his clientele comes from the west coast of Cumbre Vieja, “like the sweet potatoes, passion fruit, potatoes and zucchini that no longer reach me.” “I ask everyone what they want and I give them the best that I brought from Puntallana, because, asking them how they are, I don’t even feel sorry,” he sighs. Even so, like Pilar, she says goodbye with a promise like a two-way lesson: “I’ll be here for anything.”

«The palmeros are much of a place to be in the worst, but the worst does not seem behind but to come»


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That kind of greatness that, in the middle of the nightmare, recalls those verses of What is not a dream, by the poet Claudio Rodríguez: «But you hey, let me tell you that, despite / so much deplorable life, yes / despite and still now / that we are in defeat, never in dressage (…) Irremediably ».

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