Volcanoes and Snakes and Bears, Oh My!

As a girl I loved to listen to Johnny Cash sing Ring of Fire in his scratchy voice. The lyrics produced Faustian images in my adolescent imagination. Here in the South Pacific I am becoming acquainted with another Ring of Fire. Indonesia is uncomfortably cradled between the Alpide Belt and the Pacific Ring of Fire. The two together account for about 96% of the world’s earthquakes. The Pacific Ring of Fire is also home to 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes. Bali boasts four of her own, Batur, Agung, Bratan, and Merbuk. Of the four, Batur is the most active erupting every few years. And that is the one that has all the hiking/trekking packages! Even if I had the proper gear, shoes, and stamina I don’t think I would even be tempted. The words from that Johnny Cash song, “I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down down and the flames went higher.” kind of spoil it for me.

Photo of Mt. Batur copied from Bing Search Engine

Then there is Mt. Agung. This volcano is a little more stable. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded from Agung. However the eruptions in 1963 were among the world’s largest and killed 2000 people. In spite of the ominous history there are daily tours to both of these sites and villages dot the mountainsides.

Photo of Mt. Agung copied from Bing Search Engine

Why do people want to do dangerous things and live in dangerous places? Two of my daughters (and millions of others) have chosen to reside in San Francisco at times in their lives. Those people experience regular earth tremors and yet they remain. And my other daughter lives in the jungle called New York City. Why?  The levels of adrenaline needed just to navigate the subway from point A to point B are probably off the charts.

Then there are the folks in rural Texas who encounter poisonous snakes coiled in unexpected places. Yet they walk through tall grasses and don’t bat an eyelash. A Texan friend and I were conversing one day in the 80’s. I was living in Texas then, and my friend had invited me to walk with her to see something at the other side of the meadow. “But, Karen,” my voice quivered. I  think I was trembling. “What about the snakes?”  She looked at me in disbelief. “But you’re from Minnesota,” she exclaimed and in her mind that seemed to settle the issue. I was confused, “And what’s your point?” I asked indignantly. She gave me the “Well Duh” look and putting her hands on her hips said, “The BEARS!” I guess its a matter of perspective. In spite of my superb resilience at being able to survive Minnesota bears, I did not join her on the hike across the meadow!

Photo copied from Bing Search Engine

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon Henderson
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 09:02:05

    That is why you wear cowboy boots!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Diane Struble
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 00:24:04

    I always thought that Minnesota Bears were more like Winnie the Poo and there was no need for bravery to survive. Just respect their space. Snakes, on the other hand, are venemous and sneaky although I must admit I am fond of our little garter snakes. Your Grandmother Edith was on a ladder on day working on a window when I held up a garter snake so she could admire its lovely pink mouth. Well, you can guess how well that went.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Pret Hotel Bucuresti
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 18:10:00

    Cazare Bucuresti Sector 2

    Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a
    sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally
    off topic but I had to tell someone!

    Like

    Reply

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