Black Beauty

KonaapWhen you first arrive at Kona Airport your plane lands on a runway set in the middle of a vast expanse of black lava. You wonder where the nearest signs of civilization will be, for the landscape looks so stark and inhospitable. If you are moving to the island —as we were 15 years ago— you think to yourself, “oh my, what have we gotten ourselves into,” especially when, peering through the plane windows, you see that Kona has one of the few airports left in the world without jetways, consisting of what looks to be little more than a string of grass shacks.

Kona_airportHowever something happens the moment you step out of the plane cabin and into the island air. It’s another one of Dick’s Genius Loci moments: a feeling of peaceful tranquility and perfect rightness seeps into every one of your pores, and you feel more alive and more vibrant that you ever have been before. Everything seems exactly as it should be, exactly as it was meant to be. After living on the Big Island for any amount of time at all, that once-stark looking landscape becomes our Black Beauty, and like everyone else who lives here you decide you wouldn’t trade it for anything.

As is my habit, I tried to take my morning run again today, and this time I made it about two miles from my house: In the last two days I’ve had to abort my efforts because there is still too much ash and soot in the air from the fire. There is a much different kind of black that now creeps next to my neighborhood, one of charred black devastation. Even though Mauna Kea still majestically rises behind it, and the ocean still dazzles in bright blues below it, when I came back home I was so hungry for the Waikoloa beauty that was lost.

So that was incentive enough: I finally uploaded the pictures I took at Volcano last weekend. You can see them all here if you are so inclined. These next couple of shots within this post are the ones that have been rotating as desktop wallpaper for me in the last few days: Feel free to copy and drink in some of my island beauty for yourself.

Yellow Beauty and Green Beauty: scroll down to see them…

Ginger Beauty and White Beauty:

Crater Beauty
and Puppy Beauty (They were being sold at the Volcano Village Open Market on Sunday):

Good trivia question for our Ho‘olaule‘a contest: How did “Puppy Beauty” get into my Volcano pictures? Where was the shot taken?”

Volcano Photo Album.

Related Posts:

Up to Volcano.
Why I was there.
July ’05: Talking Story Recap
Volcano results here.
Ash, soot and the smell of smoke, but it’s home. Part 2 of the story of the charred landscape.





  1. Susanne says

    Oh dear Rosa, what a horrible experience for you and your community, fighting such a wild fire! I only read about this tonight in your blog, and started to imagine how this black desert would look like – and then, instead you have been cheering me up with all your fresh beauties from the Volcano trail! (Especially I just loved those dear little puppies for sale on the market; the race looks much like those that I’ve seen at a Chinese market once, hopefully they were not bought by any Chinese cook!)
    Yes, I’m going to finish reading MWA this month, now also with your encouragement to learn the answers for your quiz at the end of August.
    I would love to have more hours every day just for reading, writing and learning. And I already DO spend so many hours doing so…