We dine fine in the lodge and life’s good. I’m sipping a Brandy Alexander by the fireplace with my heart melting faster than the cubes. Face flushing, I’m gushing love at this little woman. I’m allowing myself to let go of the mainland of my mind and just dig my life with her. Drifting, a fog lifts and there is no looking back. Be here: Hawaii’s Volcano Village.
Looking back from the center of the volcano to the cloud forest atop and encircling it the next day. Heat hotter than last night’s jacuzzi soak, our skin searing in this vast black pit of lava burnt Earth. We walked an elevated rain forest in and will walk an elevated rain forest out – but way out here there is barely enough water to hydrate against the bouncing heat, rising in sheets.
Funny moment before was when we checked in at the National Park entrance. They had a painting of the wild-haired Hawaiian Volcano God, Pele. My companion, freer and looking naturally wilder than I’ve ever seen her, was the spitting image. We didn’t even have to say it. We just looked at the picture and each other and laughed. For basically just a white girl, she’s ambiguously exotic. American Indian blood.
We cross over the big volcano. Up-up and away into a cool light, bright green reality which could hardly be more different. The plants are flutes and fiddles, forming a forested music I’ve only ever seen or heard today. No snakes in Hawaii but plenty of other creatures. Songbirds of every imaginable color singing songs mirroring the harmonious flow of local speech pitter-patter patterns. You can’t be here and not feel it. It’s brimming with life. A tingling energy shoots up your spine like black heroin hitting a junkie’s thirsty veins. You feel it in your core.
I briefly think of my friend who lost his mind in Hawaii, reading his journal from that time. It was just too much for him. Sort of an even more unpublishable more palatable location version of the Alexander Supertramp ramblings on Alaska which became the backstory of Into the Wild. My favorite part was when they knew they were losing it, my friend and the protagonist of that good book. A Walt Whitman moment where a man goes into the wilderness and questions what we accept as reality on the other side. Society. Commerciality. Badly distorted perceptions based on greedy career-isms. All the overdeveloped destruction…And then this Earth.
I guess I came closest to that moment way up in the California mountains, living inside my book Golden State Genius, but I was always only a few days away from glitzy LA or gritty San Francisco. So, I couldn’t really let go like they did; they were more far gone.
We come across the path to a lava tube and take it. Reminds me of the time I went spelunking. A cave, of sorts, created by the red hottest essence, not solid, not liquid and pushing through the ground: a drilling snake of hot inner Earth light, leaving nothing alive in its path. I’m being changed by this.