This morning my husband and I were reminded that the beauty of Kapoho grew out of a similar eruption to the one now happening in Leilani. This morning we went for a walk to the ocean on land that was formed as a result of the 1959 Kapoho lava flow. That eruption began in much the same way.

Ironically for a few weeks now I have been reading “Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii” by Frances H. Kakugawa. There is a chapter called “Once there was a Kapoho.” Kakugawa wrote about her grandmother standing on her lanai seeing “shapes like Rorschach inkblots in red, shooting up into the sky more than ten miles away.” She shouted to her son, “I can see the lava so clearly from here Tashika mon.” “She didn’t know that what she was calling ‘spectacular’ was going to cover her house in less than twelve hours.”

I took many pictures and videos as we walked to send to our children who are away at college but wishing to be home with us during this uncertain time. As expected, they are having a difficult time remaining focused on studying for finals and instead are preoccupied and worrying about us, our home and their friends who have had to evacuate.

The picture that tugged at my heart the most was that of a coconut palm that was planted when they were keiki and now provides shade as a mature tree.

It’s oddly peaceful here in Kapoho, only miles away from the explosive fountains of lava. The only sounds are birds. Not one car went by until 7:30 a.m., highly unusual in our neighborhood of mainly retirees that get up with the sun. Our neighborhood is empty and all but the most adventurous tourists have gone home or to other parts of our beautiful island.

We are at a loss for what to do with our time. Does cleaning or fixing the house even make sense right now with the future so uncertain? We are still checking in with news websites and social media but are also actively trying to conquer our anxiety and bring it down to a healthier level. Cooking makes more sense than cleaning, and baking brings comfort, so I have decided to make a batch of buttermilk blueberry muffins to share with the few remaining neighbors. Once I am able to focus on the recipe, and it takes a few minutes before I can commit to it, the fragrance of the cinnamon and nutmeg instantly calms me.

Our suitcases are next to the bed. Yesterday I left mine open and dropped items into it throughout the day. I am sure it is a weird assortment of clothes that don’t go together, because I am having a hard time committing to serious packing. Our many photo albums, memories of our 25 years in Hawaii, are in boxes near the front door. Other than those and our important papers, we are ready to go if it comes to that. I will, as well, be taking my jewelry and the Sabbath candles, though thankfully there is no need to sew the jewels into my clothing as my Eastern European ancestors had to when fleeing from persecution. As I type this I realize that no matter what happens we will be okay, more than okay actually, since we have the support of our family and the many relatives and friends that have reached out over the past few days.