24 Oct 2008, 4:42pm
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the earth is always creating itself

did you know that the hawaiian rainforest has pretty much nothing dangerous in it? no poison ivy or poison oak or anything similar to worry about brushing up against… though cane grass will give you welts when you’re hacking and whacking at it for a couple hours (i speak not from experience but from observation). no snakes or poisonous insects or animals with big pointy teeth. the mosquitoes carry no communicable diseases–there was one very tiny outbreak of dengue fever several years ago, but it was quickly contained.

the only thing you really have to worry about is the centipedes, which can and will deliver a bite that feels like a wasp sting. ok, i live in fear of the centipedes. they put odb bugs (our name at reed for house centipedes, because they haunt the “old dorm block” on campus) to shame. i have only seen one, caught by another volunteer, and it was dead, but that sucker was like four inches long, folks. someone else said they saw one eat a lizard.

the other day i woke up to discover a millipede curled up between my thighs. it was tiny and harmless, but maybe you see why i’m a little worried about the centipedes.

the intersection of pohoiki–pronounced pohiki–and hinalo, down the street from hedonisia. left on pohoiki to go towards pahoa, right to the ocean!

i am learning the things around here that make me less a traveler and more a fixture–you know? today i’m on cleaning duty and i know what that entails and i know where to find everything i need and i know where to put everything away. things here are happening slowly enough that the lessons i learn have some time to absorb and sink in.

my feet are always dirty and will be until i get back to the mainland and socks and shoes. i even have a pair of yellow flip-flops i didn’t have when i came here–another gift bestowed on me by this beautiful corner of this beautiful island and the generous people who live here. sometimes i am salty, sweaty, a little smelly. my hair windblown or mussed. it’s great. everyone around here has such a great attitude. very laissez-faire but engaged–with the self and one’s companions and community. somehow that is not a contradiction.

whatever this is, it is a lesson half-learned, but i’ve still got time. that’s what i missed in all my galavanting around europe last fall.

anyway, this afternoon we went to mackenzie state park. on the way:

the red road

the ground at the park is thickly covered in pine needles, but i’m pretty sure there’s lava rock under there:

this is what the trees they come off of look like. they remind me of extra large charlie brown christmas trees:

apparently it’s possible to live/camp in the park pretty much indefinitely. tons of coconuts and a beautiful view of the ocean–pretty good deal!

two things i am really really not over yet:



we stood by these tide pools and watched the waves crashing for a long time.

the ever-present steam plume, again, where the lava hits the ocean, where the earth is continuously creating itself…

some strangers climbing coconut trees gave us one–we broke it apart on the lava rock by the ocean and drank its milk and ate its meat. i never knew i liked coconuts before i came here! the couple times i’d had coconut meat before, it seemed bland and tasteless and way not worth the effort required. here, it is sweet and delicious, and coconut milk is becoming one of my favorite things.

i am really falling in love with this imperfect beautiful place, mosquitoes and all.

(by the way: believe it or not, i’m not actually posting all the pictures i’m uploading to the web here on this blog. you can see the rest of them in this continuously-updated flickr set: hawaii!)



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