They, Too, Once Lived Here
Story by Imago Mana
My backyard, back at home in Leilani, is a graveyard of trees. Still standing, tall tombstones remind me that they too once lived and thrived here, their pale, gray skeletons desperately reaching for the sky. What used to be an absolute feast of infinite shades of green, punctuated with colorful blossoms of seasonal hope, died. Or, so I thought. Now five months after the volcano retched its last bit of lava out onto what was once a neighborhood street, some of those trees are showing surprising signs of life.
I look out over the landscape…it’s so different, even the sounds are different. The melodic morning bird calls drowned out by the many helicopters flying tourists over our previously peaceful neighborhood to satisfy their morbid curiosity. The daily buzz of chainsaws taking down trees that had no escape and were left behind to deal with nature’s wrath in the circle of life.
I’ve heard it said that the leaves fell off the trees as a protective act to prevent the tree from being poisoned by the volcanic sulfur dioxide gas that inundated this jungle neighborhood during Kīlauea’s most recent eruption. If true, how noble of the leaves to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the tree, putting it into a state of suspended animation. Yet, even with the leaves’ offering, some trees did not survive, it seems. They stand gray, brittle, and empty. There is a beauty in their starkness, the edges of their branches a sharp contrast to the softness of their varied leaves when they thrived.
Some of what was so alive in us did not survive. Dreams, hopes, livelihoods, things dear to our hearts, the results of investments of our precious time and hard-earned money; for some of us gone and for others forever changed. All of us affected.
When I look out over this new landscape I am invited to remember the impermanence and uncertainty of life along with the amazing natural resiliency we all possess. I watch the reclamation of the jungle and open my heart to the lessons it holds for me as I travel my unique path of recovery, I daresay my unique path of evolution.
I find myself utterly amazed at so much that I behold by simply looking out my bedroom window. The bare branched 'ōhi'a, guava, avocado, umbrella, and coconut trees, along with countless unnamed others, still upright and proud. Their buried roots holding fast to the lava rock terrain that is our island. The gift of a new peekaboo view of our vast blue Pacific, always there, yet before the lava, curtained from my eyes by the infinite thriving leaves that now lay composting on the jungle floor. I can only see that blue view across the horizon through the huge stick remnants of the arboreal lives that were lost. I find myself torn. Part of me hopes their scattered branches sketched across the sky will fill with new life filled buds, once again pulling down the blinds on my new ocean view. While another part selfishly hopes that they will stay exactly the way they are.
Futile, I know. Nothing stays the same…ever. So, I am grateful for what brings a smile to my face even when I must look through death to see it.
As Always, in All Ways, I Am Infinitely Grateful.
News from Hawaiʻi County Mayor:
- MAUNAKEA – A Way Forward09/30/2019 8:34 PM
THIS PRESENTATION IS BEYOND A “YES” OR “NO” OF THE TMT PROJECT. THIS IS ABOUT ASKING HAWAI‘I ‘S PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER AND FINDING A PATH TO GO FORWARD IN A GOOD WAY. In recent years, the Hōkūleʻa gave birthContinue reading… MAUNAKEA – A Way Forward
- Department of Environmental Management, Wastewater Division, to Conduct Sewer “Smoke Tests” September 23-27, 2019, in Mill Camp, Pāpaʽikou09/12/2019 6:54 PM
Department of Environmental Management work crews will be in the Mill Camp area in Pāpaʽikou on September 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., weather permitting. The crews will be doing “smoke test” surveysContinue reading… Department of Environmental Management, Wastewater Division, to Conduct Sewer “Smoke Tests” September 23-27, 2019, in Mill Camp, Pāpaʽikou
- Pāhala Transfer Station is Closed Today (September 3, 2019) from 8:00 a.m.09/03/2019 1:24 PM
Due to staff shortages, the Pāhala Transfer Station will close at 8:00 a.m. today (Tuesday, September 3, 2019), and will reopen as regularly scheduled on Friday, September 6, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Until 6:00 p.m. today, theContinue reading… Pāhala Transfer Station is Closed Today (September 3, 2019) from 8:00 a.m.
- WATER SHUT-OFF NOTICE for September 4, 2019 in Kaumana, South Hilo08/30/2019 7:34 PM
AFFECTED AREA: KAŪMANA, SOUTH HILO ALL CUSTOMERS ON CHONG STREET FROM WEST NAAUAO STREET TO LEWANUU STREET, INCLUDING LAWELAWE CIRCLE AND OTHER CONNECTING SIDE ROADS, INCLUDING HOKULANI STREET, ʻIʻIWIPOLENA ROAD, TERRACE DRIVE AND ALL OF ITS CONNECTING SIDEContinue reading… WATER SHUT-OFF NOTICE for September 4, 2019 in Kaumana, South Hilo
- County of Hawai‘i Unveils Refreshed, User-Friendly Website08/29/2019 8:41 PM
The County of Hawai’i is pleased to report that it will go live with a refreshed website on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Since the initiative to redesign the County of Hawai‘i’s website started in December 2016, the project has beenContinue reading… County of Hawai‘i Unveils Refreshed, User-Friendly Website
- Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center Rodeo Arena to Close September 2 for Improvements08/29/2019 2:39 PM
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is informing the public that the Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center Rodeo Arena will be closed from September 2, 2019 to approximately December 9, 2019, in order to complete restoration work at the facility. Continue reading… Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center Rodeo Arena to Close September 2 for Improvements
- Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole Park Closed Due to Kalaniana’ole Avenue Project08/29/2019 2:27 PM
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole Park will be closed on September 3, 2019 and will reopen on September 7, 2019, due to the Department of Public Works putting the finishing touches on the Kalaniana’oleContinue reading… Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole Park Closed Due to Kalaniana’ole Avenue Project
- Keʻei Transfer Station is Closed Today, August 27, 2019, from 8:00 a.m.08/27/2019 1:19 PM
The Keʻei Transfer Station is understaffed and will close at 8:00 a.m. today (Tuesday, August 27, 2019), and will reopen as regularly scheduled on Friday, August 30, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The public can take their wasteContinue reading… Keʻei Transfer Station is Closed Today, August 27, 2019, from 8:00 a.m.
- County of Hawai‘i Warns of Telephone Scam08/23/2019 8:33 PM
The County of Hawai’i is alerting the public to a telephone scam involving callers soliciting donations pretending to represent the Fire Fighters Support Alliance, a non-profit organization. Calls are coming in from a local number. Fire Chief Darren Rosario reportsContinue reading… County of Hawai‘i Warns of Telephone Scam
- Job Seekers Invited To Job Fair on October 24, 2019 in Hilo08/22/2019 2:24 PM
The American Job Center Hawai’i (AJCH) will be hosting a Job Fair on Thursday, October 24, 2019, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Edith Kanaka`ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo. This event is free and open to the public. ThoseContinue reading… Job Seekers Invited To Job Fair on October 24, 2019 in Hilo