by Glen Swartwout
Crevices in the earth form near the Rift Zone of the most active volcano on Earth, as the land to our South (the unstable side of this fault line) sinks under the massive weight of the newest land on Earth, being deposited daily whenever the lava is flowing into the ocean… And this is a fact you will easily detect when heading to the beach, as you will see the cloud-like plume rising a thousand feet in the air. At night if you get closer to the plume you may see it lit up by the red glow of lava exploding as it hits cool ocean water, as well as with internal lightning, electrical discharges traveling through plasma (ionized gas). It is reminiscent of the Shekinah Glory, the Earthly presence of the Creator, which appears as a pillar of smoke by day, and a pillar of fire by night.
When surface lava flows pool up temporarily forming a lava lake, we sometimes even see the red glow reflected in the clouds from our cozy vantage point at The Shire, some five miles away. Now doesn’t that make you feel safe? It’s actually one of the safest volcanoes on the planet, because it rarely builds up pressure to produce an explosive eruption. You can often walk right up to a lava flow, if you can stand the heat… I wonder why the banks and insurance companies refuse to do Orc business here…
So, lava cracks hidden in the deep recesses of the rainforest of The Shire can be up to about 6 feet wide and up to about 30 feet deep, though this is a guesstimate at this point. Some adventurous dwarf will no doubt be the first to plumb the depths and report back… One should always keep their wits about them when trodding off the beaten paths. And when in the jungle, most of those paths are trodden by the feral pigs. Unless you are a halfling or a dwarf, you may need to cut some brush to get through… but the trail tread is an excellent start for a foot path. In fact, if you make a new path somewhere else, it will just invite the piggies to explore that new territory as well, and that can damage the rainforest ecosystem. The pigs are now the main source of fertility on the land, but they also spread seeds of invasive species like waiwi (red strawberry and yellow small fruited varieties of guava, pronounced vie-vee’).
Once we explore the depths of our several lava cracks, who knows? We may find that one crosses the path of a lava tube… time for celebration! (But then, it’s so easy to find times for celebration when one lives in paradise!)