Wednesday, 17 August 2022

#WEP August challenge - #Moonlight Sonata - #photoessay - Tonga underwater volcano.

 Hello friends!

Here is my entry in the WEP writing contest for the prompt, Moonlight Sonata. Many ideas ran through my mind when I saw the prompt, but the image inspired the following, a photo essay. 



MOONLIGHT SONATA

Sonata form is a (musical) structure generally consisting of three main sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation. It has been used widely since the middle of the 18th century.

Sounds like the structure of a story to me – an exposition (beginning), a development (middle) and a recapitulation (denouement).

SUNRISE. SUNSET

“The 15 January blast sent shock waves around the globe and defied scientific expectations.” (nature.com)

Exposition

The spectacle we’re seeing in our Australian skies begins and ends each day on a grace note. Every morning and evening during our unaccustomed-bitter-cold-flood-prone winter, there’s a gift to be had if we look upward, an astonishing beauty that offers a time to reflect in those few moments between dark and light in the morning and light and dark at night.

Australia and the Pacific Islands

Where did these spectacular daily shows of outstanding beauty originate? In Tonga. Tonga? Yes. The undersea volcanic eruption that devastated the little Pacific Island and surrounding islands on 15 January 2022 lasted 11 hours and cost precious lives. It was the most powerful explosion in more than 30 years, with an equivalent force of 100 Hiroshima bombs. Scientists have not yet worked out exactly what happened during the cataclysmic explosion — and what it means for future volcanic risks. The eruption is forcing scientists to rethink their ideas on the hazards posed by the many submarine volcanoes that lurk beneath the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

The volcano, full name Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha‘apai, erupted before dawn, 492 feet (150 meters) below the ocean's surface, when the island was bathed in moonlight. It sent a plume of ash soaring into the upper atmosphere and triggered a tsunami that destroyed homes on Tonga’s nearby islands. The plume of ash and dust reached higher into the atmosphere than any other eruption on record and triggered more than 590,000 lightning strikes in three days. Reverberations from the eruption circled the globe multiple times, but probably most of us knew nothing about it.

The extraordinary power of the blast, captured by a range of sophisticated Earth-observing satellites, has challenged ideas about the physics of eruptions. Researchers are finding it hard to explain why the volcano sent a cloud to such heights, yet emitted less ash than would be expected for an eruption of such magnitude. And the shock waves that rippled through the atmosphere and oceans are unlike anything seen in the modern scientific era.

The eruption threw up vast amounts of ash, sulphates and water vapor into the stratosphere, three times as many aerosols as usual contributing to …

The development

…what we’re seeing in our evening skies. Particles in the atmosphere provide a surface on which to scatter light which results in breath-taking sunrises and sunsets. It provides a vast show-off moment in the battle of the realms, earthly versus heavenly. There are moments like this in nature – consider the mythical swansong of that silent bird who sings so sweetly just before death.

Each night, I stand at my bedroom window and watch nature’s magnificent dance, the colors pale, then bright, then intense, before fading into the night. Those wondrous blazes of fiery warmth cause me to gaze at the sky, remember loved ones who have passed, loved ones who live nearby, loved ones living on the other side of the world. Definitely a spiritual moment.


I’m not up early enough to watch every sunrise, but when I am, I’m glad I’m present for the show. Not as spectacular as sunset, but spectacular all the same. That bright ray that promises another day is born, a day to do what you will, to make good choices or bad, to love or hate. (I always am thankful that the brightness I’m seeing isn’t from missiles, bombs or nuclear explosions. It’s just nature sharing its giggly joy at coming back for another show).

 The recapitulation

As the morning begins with the orange orb pushing upwards on our horizon or the night curtain is drawn on another day, don’t we all hope that it will last a little longer? By the time we rush for our cameras, it’s gone. Then we remind ourselves that nothing lasts forever.

Summer is coming; the bitter cold that has clenched Australia for months while our brothers and sisters in the Northern Hemisphere have sweltered through heatwaves and fires, this too will pass. But on a bright note, the Tongan-inspired sunrises and sunsets will linger for another year.

The sunset sky is to me like an artist's canvas, filled with skilful brushstrokes of reds, purples, oranges and yellows. As the sunset fades, the sun gradually melts into the sky like paint into canvas, like a person waving goodbye and walking into the distance, far, far away; and darkness settles in and night closes around us, softly, like a fading musical note at the close of a symphony.

TAGLINE: There are more things that nature has wrought than humans can ever imagine.

808 words
FCA

I hope you enjoyed my take on the entry. Click in my sidebar to read more entries in our writing competition.

I'm On The Road Again as of this morning, the 17th, hauling my caravan northwards to hotter climes in the tropics. We are in the grips of, to us, a freezing winter. 

I'll answer comments as soon as I'm able.

And if you want to join the fun and are ready to be creeped out for Halloween, consider writing something for us in October - Thriller!!!! 

After a hiatus, Renee is back with a vengeance. She has treats galore in store for you! She really loves her horror-fests. And as a prize for the best entry, Renee offers a beta read/critique of your WIP. Go for it!!!

If horror's not your thing, go HERE for other ideas.


Thanks for reading ...

Denise



32 comments:

Debbie D. said...

This is fascinating, Denise, and the photos are lovely! ♥ Clever take on the prompt. ☺ Sunrises and sunsets are mother nature's canvas. Happy travels!

Natalie Aguirre said...

This was such an interesting take on the prompt. I loved that you included the pictures too. I'm glad you'll be able to experience the beautiful skies for another year, though the reason you can see such beauty was a tragic event.

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
When I read your submission, I thought of the climate changes that the earth is going through. A wonderful take on the prompt.
Shalomm aleichem

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow!!! So very cool and something I hadn't heard of before. Fascinating!

Yolanda Renée said...

What a beautiful photographic display. I do hope science learns more from it, but in the meantime enjoy the beauty it's created. Just so sad to realize the devastation it also means. But change is that way, isn't it?!

I do hope you are enjoying your family!

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

Fascinating, had school lessons, in the very ancient past, on how musicians expressed their ideas in musical form, how they were motivated by different life experiences. It does help the listener to interpret the emotional impact of their work.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you for sharing. Your essay reminds me of the power and beauty of nature. And how powerless we are to control it. Your photos are stunning!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise - that Tonga eruption was/is worrying ... and I hope the scientists can work out what happened. Every volcanic eruption spewing particles into the skies give us very different skies ... over here too ... we've had incredible sunsets and sunrises, let alone those pink-turquoise-tinged clouds ...

Excellent take on the prompt ... nature is the artist's canvas ... more peaceful evenings are needed with symphonies playing around us ... cheers Hilary

Olga Godim said...

This was an amazing post, Denise. Absolutely engrossing. I had no idea. Your descriptions are so evocative.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Denise.

I didn't know any of that. Very interesting and in-depth. Enjoy your trip. Last winter, we didn't get any snow where I live. Compared to Colorado and they had to shut down. I've been through many of those winters and I much prefer a lack of the white stuff. Interesting enough, New Mexico hasn't been as hot as some farther north of us.

Nancy

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Denise,

Safe travels!

A fascinating account of this tragedy. But with such sadness brings such joy to others for so many days and nights. As if Nature is paying back what it took. The pics are stunning. There is truly nothing more beautiful than a sunset.

L.G. Keltner said...

I loved this! Your photos are breathtaking. Isn't nature amazing in its power and beauty? It's fantastic to think how connected everything is. That a volcanic explosion can make the sky look that much more vivid. Events are so often not isolated, and it's best to appreciate the splendor of it all while we can.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't realize it was so close to you. Must be some amazing skies now.

Shannon Lawrence said...

As others have said, I didn't realize this was so close to you or that it's had this long-lasting impact, but a fascinating read and lovely photos. I enjoyed this different take on the prompt.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks all you lovely people for the interesting comments. I'm glad you enjoyed my take on the prompt.

I am on vacation and can't spend too much time on the laptop. Thanks to those who wished me well.

Kalpana said...

Sunset photos of such brilliance are always a delight. I was fascinated to read that this is because of the volcanic eruption in January this year. Nature is so wonderful and mysterious. With climate change as an ever-present reminder, writing like this is essential.

Damyanti Biswas said...

Such beautiful pictures. This is really wonderful prompt usage, Denise. Have a wonderful trip!

Michelle Wallace said...

Such an informative and educational post!
I'm amazed at some of the details: an equivalent force of 100 Hiroshima bombs? More than 590,000 lightning strikes in three days?
It reinforces the power of nature - tragic and beautiful!

Lenny Lee said...

Hi Miss Denise,

Great interpretation of the prompt. Our friends in Fiji and Vanuatu lived through this frightening event. Interesting how the what is nature’s ugly side for some results in beauty for others. Cool pics. I love your description of the sunset. I could see it in my mind as I read it.

Christopher Scott Author said...

A mesmerizing take on the prompt and the enchanting beauty of nature. Well done, Denise.

Nilanjana Bose said...

First off, I love that I'm a speck on that map you put up. I love that you did a photo essay, whoop! As you know, I love the sun and its rises and sets and the sky in general. And I just adored the direction you took with this prompt. Serious with a frisson of lightheartedness, poignant with the losses at Tonga, awestruck with the canvas and capability of Nature. The parallel with the structure of the sonata is perfectly delightful too, enjoyed reading it so much. Marvellous!

Elephant's Child said...

I have no idea why this didn't show in my reader, and am very, very glad I have tracked it down.
Dawn and dusk are my favourite times of day, and I delighted in this post, those I ache for those adversely affected by the eruption. Thank you - and enjoy your travels.

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Denise. Thank you so much for this treat. Nature never fails to surprise us and you gave us a lovely glimpse of one such natural phenomenon. Of course, the loss of life is the other side we will never learn to come to terms with. I liked how you integrated different facets of Moonlight Sonata into your response.
-Sonia

Denise Covey said...

I'm really glad there is so much enjoyment for my post. I loved the research and wonder what Nature has in store for us next!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great prompt. It inspired me to participate in the WEP challenge for the first time. The October prompt is also intriguing. I'll be thinking about my thriller entry for a few weeks!

Those sunrise/sunsets are breathtaking.

Mary at Play off the Page

Nick Wilford said...

A great tribute to the beautiful and often terrifying power of nature. Poetic and educational, at the same time.

cleemckenzie said...

I really enjoyed reading your text and seeing the images, Denise. So interesting and so beautiful. I loved your take on this month's WEP--different and fascinating.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Mary, Nick and Lee. I enjoyed writing it for sure!

Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost (Not Charlotte) said...

Volcanoes greatly fascinate me. I had a little book about volcanoes when I was in my early elementary school years. I was a strange and precocious child who read horror comics, Edgar Allan Poe, and books about destructive natural forces.
I've had more than one dream about a volcano erupting in my backyard. My dream volcanoes are generally loud and showy but not especially destructive.

Jamie said...

Fascinating! I don't think I heard about this volcanic activity. I like how you used it with the prompt.

Bernadette said...

A fascinating take on the prompt. I guess every volcanic cloud has an orange lining? 😉

Denise Covey said...

Ornery Owl, Bernadette, Jamie. Thank you. It was fascinating to research.