Saturday, August 29, 2009
It was four days of a totally different environment, different kinds of responsibilities, different views of the world. It was four days of sanity break.
We met on Monday morning in the Hawaiian Airlines inter-island terminal: Shannon, Pilialoha and I. Two hours later we claimed our car in Hilo and headed for the market en route to the Volcano, 30 miles up the road. In another life I looked at the Volcano as a l-o-n-g distance from Hilo, but in reality the two communities are no farther apart than Sonora and Groveland.
At approximately 4000' elevation, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is cooler than the shoreline communities. It is reputed to be more rainy, but our experience this week was the "above the fog" phenomenon -- substituting "rain" for "fog". For at least two of the four days, it was gloriously bright and clear at the volcano while overcast and drippy in Hilo. After dark the stars came out, so many more than in all the ambient light of city living. The crisp air, the occasional need for long sleeves and "real" shoes (the ones with closed toes), was wonderful. Pili said it felt like Christmas.
What do four ladies, each born in a different decade from the 1910's to the 1940's, do together? We shopped. We tried several different kinds of wine. We cleaned windows, shopped some more, attacked the overgrown bed of yellow ginger alongside the house, tried more wine, shopped again. We walked a little. We even spent a little time talking about our common bond, the Daughters of Hawaii. In between we ate, had another glass of wine, laughed and got to know each other better. Then laughed some more. We argued with Patu about who got to cook and/or wash dishes. Sometimes Patu won. That's Patu in her kitchen at the top of this post.
We visited Pele from as close proximity as the Park Service allowed us -- the overlook of Kilauea Crater and Halema'uma'u Firepit at the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory on the crater rim. Because of the gaseous emissions (that white cloud in the other photo at the top of this post) from Halema'uma'u, visitors are not allowed to drive the rim of the crater between the Observatory and the Chain of Craters Road. The VOG fumes can be hazardous to health, and the Park Service is taking no chances with the health of their visitors. We did not offer her the appropriate gifts (commonly gin or ohelo berries); we saw no red-gold lava fountains or a glow from Halema'uma'u.
All too soon it was time to return to Honolulu. We agreed that it was a wonderful break, and invited ourselves back whenever Patu feels she can stand our company again.
Thank you, Patu, for your invitation and your hospitality. Thank you, Ian, for doing the fill-behind tasks while I was away.
Don't forget to pray ....!