The eruption that invented Christmas

This piece was written for the Six Sentence Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘eruption’. Gone for a creative non-fiction approach on this one.

Mount Tambora is a volcano on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia and in 1815 it produced the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded human history.

The ash from the eruption column dispersed around the world and in 1816 lowered global temperatures in an event sometimes known in the Northern Hemisphere as ‘The Year Without A Summer’.

Charles Dickens was aged four at the time and a Little Ice-Age affected London for several years afterwards.

Although he didn’t write A Christmas Carol until 1843, the childhood memories must have come flooding back as he started his work.

Ironically, Dickens main motivation was to expose British social attitudes towards poverty, particularly child poverty, but the story ended up creating an enduring middle class vision of feasting, roaring fires and Christmas carols.

In that sense, it seems that eruptions could be far more aptly called disruptions, in a world where the only constant revolutions are the spinning of the Earth that the meek are yet to inherit.

35 thoughts on “The eruption that invented Christmas

  1. Doug. Keep writing like this, man. Informative, contemplative. I’m enjoying the “well rounded’ words capped with thinly veiled cynicism. On second thought, we need the balance provided by your wacky, humorful Sixes as counterpoint!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written. Solemn and informative today, Doug, but with your trademark irony and social comment neatly slipped in. (PS I sometimes wonder what the meek would do with the earth…)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We tend to associate eruption with upheaval, a violent outburst or discharge. Something happening immediately.
    The tiny disruptions that seem like a pin prick today may prove to be far more explosive and consequential far into the future.
    (a wee mind comment) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post, Doug.
    I remember there being ice-skating on the Thames at one time (although I’m probably getting my times all mixed up again… would they have had ice-skates in the early 1800s? Hmmm…); I never gave a volcanic eruption a thought as to how that was possible. It makes perfect sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They certainly did have ice-skating by the 1800’s, Tom, but it turned out 1814 was the last time it would occur, because the building of London Bridge and the embankments changed the flow of the river. Bloody unromantic engineers. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am pleased to find out that the Jacqhammer has one more mode than “Afterburner”.

    “..eruptions start off with the.flap of a butterfly wing”…how powerful the juxtaposition between them.
    Cheers Doug.

    Liked by 1 person

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