- musings from home by Chrystal Dawn
Obsidian lava meets cobalt Pacific at the Kona International airport on the Island of Hawai’i. Descending from clouds the vastness of lava fields running into open ocean truly is magnificent. Visitors say its like landing on the moon. To me, it is a homecoming. Warm air, plumeria leis, fresh salt spray, and jet fuel mix in a tropical blast as we deplane. It's been 2 years since I’ve been home and its Kainoa’s first time. He is laughing; I am too with tears of joy- also running on adrenaline with zero sleep- jet-lagged. Mama meets us at the airport, we head south to Kaʻū where I grew up, past the coffee and macadamia farms along the slopes of Mauna Loa the world’s largest volcano.
Time slows with lush green mango and avocado trees, the Kona bends and final dirt road winding us home. Kainoa and Hawaiʻi are old friends I am sure of it, he sleeps easily and wakes with the rising sun. Every day we adventure, drinking in wildness, our feet bare in course volcanic black sands made by Pele the Hawaiian fire goddess. We watch honu (green sea turtles) beach themselves for a rest, our endemic Nēnē geese forage in the lava fields. Halemaʻumaʻu the deepening crater at the summit of volcano Kilauea smokes and lets off steam during our walk along the crater rim where roads have cracked during the 2018 eruption. In the arms of my loved ones we visit ancient curved valleys, hike in upland rain-forests untouched by development, time turns back.
Homegrown food and stories are shared with friends, experiencing and giving aloha with each breath. Picking papaya in the garden we learn how my sister built her off-grid container house with up-cycled materials in the lava desert of Kaʻū. Leilani my sister and I grew up this way off-grid, on dirt roads with a mother as wild and strong as the Ka Lae winds, carving out a new way for her and her girls. I am like her, of her, of this place, of Hawaiʻi Nei. Looking out across the deck from the house I grew up in I see Ka Lae, South Point, where seamount Lōʻihi, Pele’s new island is forming off the coast. Kainoa is on my hip playing his bamboo flute, the sent of my favorite flower puakenikeni thick and sweet, like her waxy petals, cocoon’s us as the sun dips below the infinite horizon. We will go back to Australia in the coming days, though my heart is forever here in Pele’s garden.