It seemed like the cloud cover was a heart quilt for 6 hours and it seemed like the volcano had spit out hundreds of acres of heart shaped lava in places where it was loose and broken up.
When we landed, we saw white coral placed on the black lava with peoples' names written, mile after mile. A person wouldn't want to disturb the sacredness, reusing the little pile or rearranging it. They numbered in hundreds! The island was covered with these. I wanted to know the story behind the names. It reminded me of Hugh McLeod's story of the white pebble: http://gapingvoid.com/2009/04/09/the-white-pebble/
We hiked into a hidden beach from the little village. We spent 3 of our 7 days there, picnicking, chunky dunking (skinny dipping for the overweight), snorkeling, sunbathing, burning the bottoms of our feet and drinking every drop of the frozen bottles of water melting in a timely fashion. We had it all to ourselves!
One day we drove to the lava tube which acts like a blood vein, but instead of blood, it transports hot molten lava to the ocean. It is quite a hike to the vista point, walking on black, hardened 'pudding'. Like some giant poured batter or pudding out of a huge bowl, making piles, ripples and puddles.
We all had to have a flashlight to get back without twisting an ankle or breaking our necks. Water was required along with proper shoes. Only Craig had the latter, we limped along floppily with flipflops!
When it was dark, the huge plunks of molten lava sprayed, splashed, sparkled and spit into the surf with amazing power and the deep red of forged iron. Sometimes it was a gurgle, others a massive glump. Hundreds of people watching together, awestruck at the same time, gave us a strange intimacy. Language, race, politics, culture, citizenship and religious beliefs were all different, yet being stunned into wonder repeatedly gave us a unique common unity, unspoken but felt deeply. It was the one and only 'tourist' thing we did.
Kanapala Road to the northeast of the lava tube was beautiful and gave us a picture of what the land probably looked like pre-lava covered. Lush. Green. Fertile. Jungle. We found warm pools, naturally fed in the rocks. Resting high on a bluff, overlooking the ocean, we heard and felt this intense long rhythmical rumble. The surf was so rough in this spot that the rough
lava chunks as big as a coffee table were moving in and out of the surf, roaring as they tumbled together, becoming smooth and round. This too was a black sand beach in the making. We watched, felt and heard. Now I can say, 'I have heard the mountains roar, rocks sing and watched water laugh while it effortlessly tossed boulders around like feathers.'
There were times at different beaches we explored, when one of us would get taken down, tumbled and ground into the sand; laughing hysterically at how powerless we were while getting scraped and bloodied, hoping rescue was close by. We got sand in places we didn't know we had places. Reminded me of my Santa Cruz childhood...
Craig finally got the rhythm of just 'being' instead of 'doing' by day 5. Us girls started immediately~
We grunged in the few comfy clothes we brought. Brita rebelled against flossing. Craig was a good sport in spite of his knee pain. We all scrounged for food when hungry. Tess still chose to laugh and include herself even though she felt dizzy and disoriented. Flying might not be in her future unless we can figure out a remedy.
What we all figured out is that all joy also has pain. Having fun takes work. They go together. I couldn't quit capturing images, storing them in my minds eye, of this family I'm blessed with. Just like we are, it was wonderful. All of it. We worked through the rough spots.
What has stayed with me more than the exquisite beauty of this ocean paradise, is the abundance of green plants thriving, rooting, growing, bearing fruit and flowers ~ on nothing but black, hot, unfriendly, uninviting lava! Bare lava without topsoil or any other kind.
This was the free take away for me.
There is a yiddish proverb that goes something like this: "Every blade of grass has an angel bending low, whispering grow, grow, grow."