Eva Bradley: Forget the quiet life thar she blows

Life is better when it blows. And not just for volcanoes. The eruption of Mt Tongariro has given us something to talk and tweet about. It has made for fabulous front-page pictures and spectacular TV news.

It has given us something to talk about and - best of all - the situation remains deliciously unpredictable and volatile, with the promise of more drama on the horizon with another dirty great ash cloud.

There's no denying the fact that despite the potential dangers of ongoing activity at Tongariro (and the obvious disadvantages to tourists and those who make a living from them), a mountain in the throes of unrest is far more interesting than a dormant one.

And so it is with life.

While some consider the Chinese proverb "may you live in interesting times" to be more of a curse, I love a bit of drama and can't see the harm in drawing the curtains a bit on a bright day if it makes the dark shadows a little bit more interesting.

In short, I'm a drama queen and although I don't like to think that I actively seek it, disruption - if not quite eruption - seems to find me none the less.

While others I know have tiptoed respectfully through their 20s and into their 30s with only the expected blips on the radar such as marriage and children, I (inadvertently) have opted for a less settled path.

A bit like the Napier school children who were casually enjoying their day trip up Tongariro and then got more than they'd bargained for, I have sometimes found myself dodging unexpected eruptions in life, and as a result found myself taking a different path entirely from the one I'd planned.

Although the terrain has often been far tougher as a result, the challenges and rewards that have come from diverting from the road less travelled have mostly been worth the extra sweat and tears.

And, if nothing else, the view when your road to the top has been a bit dodgy and disrupted is at least a little more interesting - as are the stories you gather along the way.

The trick is to find the right balance between disruption and disaster. Mt Tongariro with her air show coming in the wake of August's feisty but essentially harmless rock shower, got the tone exactly right.

Fireworks were delivered in dazzling display and Tongariro attracted international attention with her foot-stamping tantrum, but no children or animals were harmed in the making of this eruption etcetera.

The experts say the mountain will continue to provide us with some ongoing visual petulance but with minor disruption to services and the promise of good behaviour in future.


We could all learn a thing or two from this event, particularly how to create the right amount of razzle-dazzle to ensure we live in interesting times, but not so interesting that we get ourselves blown off-course or find our forward momentum reversed by some swiftly flowing and filthy lahar.

It's a rough and swift ride to the bottom when you follow that option in life, and the mud that sticks makes the climb back to the top that much harder.

- Northern Advocate

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