Chris Butcher Photography

July 15.2018 Life with a Volcano

It was suggested that I write an essay about my raw mixed emotions while experiencing the lava. How do you possibly untangle all the emotions and write a piece that can be understood by someone who may never have experienced it ? That my friend will be a later post.

Lava creates land, and frequently flows across old flows, building the old land higher . Lava cannot be controlled,it is not mindful, it is nature, it is the way of the Volcano,it is the way of Pele.

We have been blessed until now, other than a few outside structures, no homes were taken in the last 20 plus years. The lava ran to the sea over inhospitable land, uninhabited by people.

When I arrived in Hawaii in '91 I felt sadness for the people of Kalapana and surrounding area who were loosing generational homes to the flows, but it takes living here awhile,making your own attachments and memories in an area before you can really feel that raw emotion of loss.

In recent years I have hiked to the lava, ridden boats and helicopters with no doors on, wished I could hike and climb further, wished I was younger with more energy.wished I could stay longer whenever I reached the flows. My newest wish was to wish that people hadn't lost their homes,that places of beauty would stay forever. At best it was a silly wish,one that eventually would prove unobtainable,but you always hope it's not in your own lifetime that something comes to bear.

Life is a risk and we all play the risk game to one degree or another,always thinking the bill will never come due.."not in my lifetime." Add to that, the fact that the land is cheap and drop dead beautiful and that is why we live,play and adjust our life to whatever the Volcano wants to do.

Our beautiful Island has lost a lot, huge agricultural losses,Homes,vacation rentals and the support jobs they provided within the local community. Memories of places we took our children, where they learned to swim and fish. Where we scattered the ashes of family members,where we went for bike rides on the Harley.Our beautiful park shaken to a point of closure ,along with it's art center,hotel ,restaurants,bar and bowling alley.

There is still a lot of sadness and need but we will bounce back. There is still a huge big Island with many things to see and do , we make one simple your trip.

If anyone has questions regarding specifics of visiting I will answer as best as I can for that day and provide you with useful local links for more information.As you look at the image I attached to this post note the houses behind the fissure, there are hundreds of them uninhabitable if not yet burned. The fissure, I am told, is actually in someone's backyard. In the air all I can see is an unfamiliar landscape,favorite places gone and  my friends properties lost forever.





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  • Published on July 16, 2018
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