What’s happening with the lava flow in Pahoa?…Life goes on among the locals and tourists…Last year…They visited a second time…Magical…

Lava or not, local roosters and chickens are busy peeking on vegetation, a common sight in the islands. This rooster had a keen eye on his “wife” and a chick on the side of the road.

As we drove around Pahoa yesterday afternoon, we couldn’t avoid noticing the number of buildings and businesses that have closed or are soon to close in Pahoa with the lava flow only 660 yards from the Pahoa Marketplace.

Yesterday afternoon, we drove on the newly graveled road, recently made as an alternative to Highway 130 which eventually will be closed due to the lava.

Please click here for the latest update and video of the lava flow in Pahoa.

When lava came through this area in years past, many cars remained, burned, and abandoned.

It was only a few weeks ago, that we attended the final sale days of the Malama Market, the Supercuts, and the Long Drugs (owned by CVS) in preparation for their final closing of these and other stores as the lava approaches, seeming to inch along at this point.

Longs Drugs, permanently closed and boarded up due to pending lava flow.

Yesterday, as we drove around the Pahoa area we discussed the tragic impact the lava flow has had on local residents; lost jobs, lost homeownership and rentals, lost business ownership, loss of revenue, and taxes for the city. 

Pahoa gas station, tanks removed, and closed in anticipation of the upcoming lava flow.
The Pahoa Marketplace strip type mall is guarded 24 hours a day by the National Guard.

In one positive way, it has put Pahoa on the map, a sleepy little “hippie” town known for its laid back retirees with long beards, braided hair, and a gentle demeanor; its quaint shops with locally made artifacts, clothing, and treasures and its cozy restaurants where the locals gather to share the news of the day.

Auto repair shop in the path of the lava.
Malama grocery store, since abandoned for the upcoming arrival of lava.

These days, its been discussions in the community about the continually moving lava, albeit slow at the moment, that invariably will make its way to the sea, somewhere near where we’ve been living these past five weeks. Fortunately, for our convenience, it never made it to us.

The pharmacy had left this sign referring prescriptions to the now-closed Longs Drugs.

At the lava flow’s current rate of travel, having recently almost stalled, it could be many months before it reaches this area. Now, living here, we realize that had we found the necessity to relocate, we’ve would have done it with more grace and ease than the frenzied panic we anticipated many months ago.

The local grade school, quite a distance from the Pahoa Marketplace, has been closed for some time due to the lava.

It’s the way of life for the people of this island. They accept that Madam Pele, the Goddess of Fire, as having the power to make the decisions that ultimately will bear down on the lives of its people. They graciously accept her choice of the course of the lava as it flows from Mount Kilauea and the other active volcanoes on the islands. 

The Pahoa Community Center has been closed since before our arrival in anticipation of the lava flow.

After all, Hawaii was created by volcanic eruptions forming the land of the islands, rising from the sea. Who’s to question this power?

We watched the behavior of this rooster and his family. He kept an eye on us and the mom safely tucked her chick on her opposite side.

As for tourism on the Big Island, it has increased since the news of the lava flows attracted worldwide attention.  This fact is good for the businesses remaining in Pahoa.  But, for those who have been permanently displaced, losing their financial security and homes, the saga continues on.

During high winds on Friday and Saturday, this tree was uprooted at the birdhouse where we currently reside.

For us, we’ll always find ourselves checking online news for the progression of the lava as we’ve acquired compassion for the fate of the island’s people and their lives as the course of this geological certainty continues over the years. We pray for their safety and for finding peace in whatever course their lives may take.

Happy Sunday to all.

                                                Photo from one year ago today, January 4, 2013:

This was the second time that the giraffes appeared in our yard on a sunny morning in Marloth Park. We were no less thrilled the second time than we were the first.  For details and videos of this visit, please click here.