Hawaii: Screaming into the Storm

December 5th, 2007

The last time I was here I was four and-a-half. I remember telling my dad I could swim; I was bobbing on my belly in six inches of water. I also had a horrible sunburn on my shoulders which grandparents salved with something in the bathroom. I don’t remember the pain, but I know it hurt something fierce. And I remember asking my parents if the rain was warm, if could I shower in it. (at left: in the midst of a rain storm)

30 years later I have returned to this “Island Paradise” for a family reunion. I arrived yesterday on a new Airbus A330 which, with its new chairs, power plugs and on-demand video, made the 6.5hr flight quite nice. I bought a $350 Alaska Air ticket awhile ago (the only reason I can afford to be here) but they put us on a “bigger” Northwest Airlines plane because of the headwinds they’d be facing. I asked the AK Air guy if it was because their plane was underpowered…I don’t think appreciated it (they only recently started service to Hawaii). (at right: cairns and a tortured landscape)

It’s flooding in western Washington right now; a few feet of early-season snow is being decimated by rising freezing levels and persistent precipitation. Along with closing Interstate 5, avalanches killed two, injured one, and three others are missing.

Here in Hawaii a storm has ripped out power poles, hit wind speeds in the 60 mph range, and caused a fair bit of flooding. We’re in a less affected area, but this evening we drove through rain so intense cars were creeping along at 25 mph, lighting flashed like dance club strobes, and water rushed in streams down the roads, littering them with rocks. (at left: Kilauea Caldera)

I started the morning two hours behind Seattle and needing to finish a proposal, send some emails, and make a few calls. I accomplished some of that but am sure that a couple of my board members for the FEAR Project are thinking “Isn’t he supposed to be on vacation? WHY is he dealing with this stuff right now?” I’m sure I’ll relax over the next few days but, really, the work needs to get done and I don’t know the meaning of the word “vacation” any longer.

However, there was a moment earlier today, at the 4000 foot Volcanoes National Park when I separated from my parents. They were going to look at the sights on the loop road and I picked about 10 miles of trails to run, one which descended to and crossed the Kilauea Caldera. I broke from the jungle path into sheets of rain and a steady 30 mph wind to see a lunar landscape of frozen lava stretching out into the gray distance. I stood on its cracked and undulating surface and screamed into the wind. I was happy–I was purely, absolutely in the moment, releasing endorphins by running and exploring a cloud-covered landscape devoid of others. (at right: Kilauea Iki Caldera)

Buffeted by the violent wind I ran as best I could over the shattered surface, cognizant that a fall would leave me cut and bleeding, but thoroughly enjoying the storm’s gusto. Though soaked by the rain, I was warm enough I could have stood without shivering.

30 years later I have an answer. You can take a shower in the rain here.

(sorry for the low quality: photos made with a Motorola V3 cellphone camera)

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No Responses to “Hawaii: Screaming into the Storm”

  1. Nadia says:

    Hey, Tim,

    I love Hawaii. Apart from Toronto, it is my favourite place on Earth. It reminds so much of Guyana (before it became corrupt).

    Glad to see you taking it easy for once.

    Take care,


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