Today a friend told me the story of losing her home to lava – in 1992. The tale began with her tinkering in the yard of her Kalapana Gardens house on January 3, 1983, when she heard a jet pass low overhead, only it wasn’t a jet and it didn’t pass: it was, in her words, “the birth of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.” She could see the initial fountaining from her driveway; the photo above was the beginning of the end of a life that she knew.
Access to her property was cut off by a flow at some point; the county bulldozed a way in, but her home was ultimately consumed by lava in 1992.
That’s nine years of a life.
Yet . . . her story was absolutely not one of regret and despair. She spoke of the event as a catalyst for transforming lives in wonderful ways: of people getting sober; of temporary roommates morphing into life-long, life-affirming friendships; of reconciliations; of divorces; of making it crystal clear what is actually important in life.
What I find astonishing about this is that I have been friends with this person for at least 15 years, yet this is the first time I heard this story. In other words, the heart of who she is is not that terrifying time but the wondrous changes that followed. I was wowed.
And now for something completely different: this morning, and I’m not quite sure why although I bet a psychologist might have an idea, I put my house somewhat back in order by returning art to walls, restocking shelves, reperching plants. Hopefully I am not daring the earthquake boss.
And lastly, the image below was in the news today. A reality check for me. I have to admit, though, the image on the left feels truer to me, even though the one on the right is factual.