An Invitation to Wonder: The Paricutin Volcano

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“In the evening, when night began to fall, we heard noises like the surge of the sea, and red flames of fire rose into the darkened sky, some rising 800 meters or more into the air, that burst like golden marigolds, and a rain like artificial fire fell to the ground.”

-Celedonio Gutierrez, a young man from the village near the Paricutin Volcano, NMONH

Welcome to this mini-series, An Invitation to Wonder,  on the 7 natural wonders of the world. I am coming towards the end of this series, and today I want to invite you to  reflect on the Paricutin Volcano in Mexico. Thanks for joining me. Let us wonder…

paricutin poem

it begins

underneath the farmers feet

he feels the ground shaking

the rumblings are new

they last for a week or two

out in the Mexican cornfields, the curiosity mounting

what’s to become of his fields, he couldn’t begin to fathom

something unique, one of kind, a natural wonder of the world is born

from this farmer’s fields of corn


imagine you are plowing or harvesting the fields

again and again, simply daily life, the slow hard steady and quotidian work of farming

when the ground turns into a mound, rising fast in your plain view

fields of corn burst open, earth begins to spew

it is a sight to behold,

which then ushers in the danger and need to escape. evacuate your home,

to let go of your home, your fields, and your city, as this force of nature overwhelms and covers it all with lava and ash.

One day you will return.

Ten years later the volcano is “dead” and upon returning, all that remains among the hardened rock is the church spire in the sky

you stand and stare and sigh

at all that is gone and all that has changed

and what little remains,

the church tower looking wistful

a Paricutin poem


I just returned from a road trip to Indiana for a midsummer vacation to my Grandma’s lake cottage.

We live in Oklahoma and the cooler weather up north is always welcomed and refreshing. This trip to Indiana is something I have been doing my whole life.

At a certain point in the drive peering out the window I begin to see the cornfields show up, flashes of fields, one after the other, every so often a red barn here or there. That’s when my heart begins to feel like I am at a home away from home, when I start seeing the cornfields.

So as I read about the volcano erupting out of a cornfield, it took me back to my trip last week, and I found myself trying to imagine a volcano emerging from those Indiana fields. An amusing thought.

But as I read about the volcano, I also felt the tension of the times and the current events. The tragedies and the violent things taking place recently. It reminded me of all that is upsetting and unsettled. The volcano seemed a fitting symbol, deep rumblings beneath the surface explode and spew fire with billowing clouds of ashes raining down.

We watch and we feel it.  We see all the different views and opinions being spewed everywhere. We wait and we hope the volcanic sulfurous ashen air will settle one day, and love will wash away the impurities which make it difficult to breath down here.

Lord, Let your Spirit of love and gentleness fall on us like rain, and purify our hearts. amen

A “Breath Prayer” for when ash and fire fill the air.

inspired by Psalm 68:9

O Lord, open the heavens… Pour down your rain.

Yes Lord, refresh us… Pour down your Spirit.

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