The weather gods have relented and given us a beautiful weekend. Saturday we were in Puna with David and Laura, and we hiked to the new black sand beach at Kalapana over the lava flow that buried the village and the old black sand beach.
A lone surfer was out there, and we kept an eye on him. He surely knew what he was doing, but the waves were huge! He finally paddled in and ran up the beach, so that was fine.
Sunday we went up to the Volcano Sunday Market with Robert and Susan (Terry's cousin) and met David and Laura and our friend Marta, a retired veterinarian who sells pet supplies up there. She joined us on our all time favorite hike, over Kilauea Iki.
We have been there numerous times and never get tired of the scenery. And it is even more fun when we're with friends who are seeing it for the first time! For one thing, they hike at a reasonable pace, listening to the birdsong and taking photos, instead of charging along like she is late for an appointment, the way cousin Susan does!
That's Halemaumau in the background, smoking away!
Marta tells great stories. She has been here for years and knows everything that goes on and has gone on here. Her parents were Hungarian nobility who came to the U.S. after WW II. And she ended up here on the rock. She is the only true aristocrat I have ever known. This expresses itself best in her attitude that she knows what is good and can do what she wants: that she is right about things.
She is a great animal lover and told us the hilarious tale of how she is fish sitting for a friend. I think it is one of those fighting fish. She said the food he was giving it was too big for it, so she got it some right-sized fish feed and it is bulking right up. Not only that, but it was black when she got it, and its tail is turning blue, which is apparently the natural color of the species. The worst thing, she said, was that its tank was full of kitschy decorations, and a noisy pump kept the poor thing from getting any rest. The blast of color and sound was like being in a discotheque! Not only could it not escape the sound, it also (being a fish) had no eyelids with which to block out the garish colors of the decorations! When she took all that distracting stuff out, it sank to the bottom of the tank and slept for hours.
Marta put me on to a popular novel about the Big Island that does an intelligent job of laying out the situation here. It's called Daughters of Fire, and it's by Tom Peek. It wraps its serious content in a story of crime, colorful characters, scenery, romance and political intrigue. Reading it I realized how "local" I've become. What we all know here is that we are at the mercy of nature. The Hawaiians had their gods and goddesses to try to make sense of that simple truth, which is always in the back of one's mind in a place full of perils for the unwary. This is not a reason to be fearful, but it is wise to be prepared. Don't build your dream home in the path of a lava flow or a tsunami! But if you do, be ready to accept the consequences! The gods have made themselves clear!