At around 1613 BCE, the island of Santorini had a cataclysmic event, the Minoan eruption. The caldera reached a VEI of 6 and the eruption column reached heights of up to 38 kilometers. This caldera forming eruption produced a 60 meter thick layer of pumice that blanketed the island.
One specific piece of pumice named Petros was born on this day. After experiencing a terrifying journey of being launched in the air and free falling for what must have felt like a lifetime, Petros came to rest. He resides on the Island of Thera, in the now town of Fira. It is at this place that his story begins…
At this outcrop of pumice, down in Fira Quarry, I patiently waited. I waited 3,630 years for someone to remove me from my prison of cement and silence so I could live a normal life. That day came when a study abroad class from America rescued me from my cage.
It is a this point that I, Petros, say goodbye to the trail that leads to where I was stuck living a life of solace. I realize at this moment, I am a free pumice. As I stare at this trail that leads to I lived for so long, I am stricken with sadness for I am leaving what I call home. Then a wave of excitement rushes through me as I remember the world that I’m about to experience.
This is it! The first look at this jaw-dropping place that I have always yearned to see. I am here because I was born into existence from a volcano, and these people came here to see what was the result of the same thing that created me. Something that is so destructive that can take life so easily can also give life and attract it from far and wide.
I study the currency known as Euro, it is what is used on this island and so much more. I quickly figure out how to use the money and make my first stop on the town.
At last, I purchase the legendary, mouthwatering greek food. My first choice is a gyro. The smell alone makes my stomach lurch out from me to try to get some. I gobble it down so fast I am not sure if I even chewed it. If I was ever offered a last meal, this would be it.
I decide to go for a walk up to the rim of the caldera. This caldera flung me into the air and gave me life. I am frozen in place when I gaze out into the distance. The deep blue shimmer of the water, the way the islands catch your gaze and call out to you, and the way the sun lights the sky for miles to see is almost to much to handle. I realize then the violent act that created me also created this unreal place that I look upon.
After being out in the scorching sun for most of the day, I need to cool off so I go for a swim. I have an uncommon advantage for a rock in that pumice is the only rock that floats. By being very porous and extremely light in density, I can float in the pool for hours to come.
After dousing myself with pool water from the fiery heat, I lounge in the shade with the pool by my side. The happiness I feel matches that of a child on Christmas morning.
Here I rest, on the wall that holds a dozen rocks by my side. Rocks that had to the same experience I did until someone rescued them. If this is where I shall sit for another 4,000 years, at least I shall not sit alone.