I woke up the other day with itchy, watery eyes. I was sneezing, coughing a bit. My skin was prickling. I felt annoyed that somehow the cats had gotten in to my room and wallowed on my bed, causing this allergic reaction. I got out of bed and felt my flip flops slide on the floor like I was on a Slip’N Slide. Looking down, I found the floor coated in swirls of shimmering gray dust.
Crap. Turrialba Volcano is erupting. Again.
This amazing time lapse video was taken while I was sleeping with all the doors and windows open, completely unaware of the world around me, throughout the night of May 19 to sunrise on May 20.
I left the mountains of Heredia over a year ago, one of the main reasons being it was in the direct line of spewing ash from Turrialba Volcano. The first time it erupted and sent its ash straight to town I thought “wow, this is sooo cool. Ash from an erupting volcano is in the air! On me! Everywhere!” I ran out and took photos, high on a new experience.
The second day came and I learned that volcanic ash is made up of rocks and minerals. It is acidic and can contain high levels of heavy metals, like nickel, which is carcinogenic. It hurts eyes, causes respiratory problems, gets in to electronics and causes them to malfunction. The high wore off, by lunch I was already jaded.
The third day I chatted up the woman who runs the vegetable store. She told me somber stories of Irazu Volcano’s eruption in the 60s. She was just a little girl, but she remembered crops and animals dying. People were constantly sick with respiratory problems, some died. She said the ash goes everywhere, nothing survives it.
I find myself today southwest of Heredia house sitting in a town that I thought was out of the volcano’s reach. I was wrong. The ash reaches.
I can’t see ash in the air immediately around me. It’s visible in the clouds, though. It tinges them various shades of gray, blocks out the sun, cools the land. The air smells like burnt sulfur. The once refreshing constant breeze is now abrasive.
The wind sounds different catching my attention every time it picks up. It has a higher, more metallic tone as it rustles through the plants.
It’s not like ash from a campfire. It comes in varying sizes. Some of it like powder, some of it like a sharp grain of sand.
My eyes are gritty and watery. The ash sneaks in, even under a tight-fitting pair of sunglasses.
My breathing is labored. My house is dirty. My car and electronics are being irreversibly damaged as the wind blows volcanic glass in to tiny crevices. There is not much I can do about it. At least my body has a filtering system.
I scrape my fingers across my skin and my nails collect black ash beneath them. I can’t see it on my skin, but it’s there. Gross? Mac makeup used to sell volcanic ash in a tiny bottle the size of my thumbnail for the price of your first born child. Come to Costa Rica, you can get it for free and the application is automatic, effortless!
The volcanos have created this fertile paradise. Are still creating it. Dealing with the ash is one of the prices we pay for living in Costa Rica. As of writing this, the price of the ticket is still worth it. …check back with me later…
For photos, videos, and the most up-to-date news on the erupting volcano, check out OVSICORI on Facebook.