Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Climbing Mount Marum

After teaching a workshop on art history, Allegra, Mi Lee, and I planned to climb Mount Marum, an active volcano on Ambrym. It was an intense daylong climb. We braved it with another volunteer's host father and a porter. The entire time I felt like I was on another planet, but particularly on the ash plain and at the top of the volcano. Because we were volunteers, he cut us a great bargain and carried our tents. When we arrived at the top of the volcano, we met an American filmmaker from New York and a New Zealander documentary film crew. The American was filming an online film called “The Deep Field.” Their crew had brought a generator and Internet and reserved helicopters to bring them food. Teetering at the edge to take pictures was a challenge. The lava pit was hypnotic. We pitched a tent at the base camp. We returned to it at night. The lava turned the sky red and gave our figures a ghostly effect which reminded me of the paintings of David Hockney and Marc Chagall,both painters I discussed with the children at my school and the school at Allegra's site. It was my first volcano, and hopefully not my last.

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