It’s been a strange few days in lava land, which began with Kilauea Volcano’s Halema’uma’u lava lake collapsing, then draining. This was followed by multiple earthquakes, felt hourly by residents of Puna, Hilo, Waimea and even Kona. Some of our friends experienced constant rumbling, saying it was “as if a river of lava flowed beneath my feet” and cracks began appearing in the road of Leilani Estates community. Discussing it after yoga class, my friends and I felt uneasy, sensing a buildup to something bigger. Later on, most incredibly, we were watched lava fountains “live” on Facebook, glued to our phones and computers. Ikaika Marzo, our son’s former volleyball coach, a well known local musician and Hawaiian cultural tour leader, documented the breakout of lava broadcasting live, exclaiming, “Lava is coming out of the ground! Ash is in the air!” His early rough videos were at first the only news we could get of the outbreak and we as nearby residents were grateful for any news of the eruption.

Twenty-five years ago after an adventurous ten day vacation, we chose the Big Island as the place we wanted to live and raise a family. It took us three more years in Los Angeles to make it back, this time permanently after a friend reached out with a job in the floral industry. It’s funny how we never once considered the possibility of this happening. My older, wiser self would have been more cautious,I think but in a way I feel like the island chose us and that having showed her we were worthy of staying, allowed us to manifest our dreams for both family and home.

Now I pray for family, friends and for our beautiful island, keeping the hope that our favorite spots will remain as they are. I am thankful to Madame Pele for allowing us to experience all of it and hope for the strength to deal with whatever comes.