We saw the millennium in watching the fireworks on Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu, part of the Hawaiian Island chain. The holiday was a special treat celebrating not only the millennium itself but also a successful business transaction earlier in the year.
As part of the trip we stayed on Big Island, and there we went to see the volcano Kilauea that was erupting at the time. The lava was flowing from a fissure in the side, down to the sea, and we went in the evening as it got dark, since that's when the red hot glow of the lava is seen to best effect.
The national Park that is Kilauea is open after dark, but the wardens go home, leavng the tourists to visit unguarded. They did insist that we buy battery torches and water to drink, since the walk was about a kilometer and the ground hot and stifling.
Walking to the hot flow over the solidified lava was an experience in itself. The surface was rumpled, rather as if large barrels had been scattered all over the landscape: you were continually dropping into small crevices and climbing back out again. And touching the rocks was a bad idea: the silicon crystals were razor sharp: I touched the surface one time to experience it, and it felt like rough sand over a hard surface, but when I looked at my hand a couple of minutes later, it was covered in blood where the crystals had penetrated the skin.
Once you got to the lava field you could stand just a couple of meters from the edge of the flow, looking into the angry pulsating red, feeling the heat and breathing the sulphurous fumes it was giving off. Where the red blanket flowed over the cliff to the sea, wave after wave would come, dissipating into huge spouts of steam on contact, but without any visible effect on the lava that stayed red, flowing unhindered into the water.
This pot we found a few months later back in England, at a craft fair completely unrelated to our break. But the rough surface of the raku, plus the swirling colours around the base capture the experience of the volcano. The artist evaporated copper filings onto the pot during the firing, letting the vapours swirl where they would, just like the lava, Nature making its own patterns.