Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a place of words - difficult to spell and harder to pronounce.

Halloween is over. The Christmas season has not arrived… and so we find ourselves in a frigid November.  The sky is grey and dark, the temperatures are sub-zero…or maybe I’m just poorly adjusting to the weather after a fall vacation to Hawaii.  The Big Island to be specific. 

© RiverWalker Arts

The temperature was 28 degrees and didn’t vary from that except as we got higher in elevation heading towards the domain of Madame Pele, Hawaiian Volcano and Fire Goddess. Known as She Who Shapes the Land, Pele the expression and embodiment of divine creative power. She is the flame of passion and the fire of purpose, the energy of dynamic action and the glowing essence of eternal and profound love.  Pele has been making her home in Halemaumau, the fire pit of the Kilauea crater on the island of Hawaii. As we wound our way around the island slowly gaining elevation and making our way up Kilauea past the current eruption that has been oozing lava from the Pu’u‘Ō’ō vent like an unhealed wound which smothered the towns of Kalapana and Kaimū before it reached the sea. 

The air was lightly chilled and began to smell of sulphur as we walked through an ancient lava tube and set out for the lava fields along the chain of craters left in Pele’s wake.  The barren landscape was dotted by tiny shoots of green vegetation clinging against all odds to the sharp glassy black rock. 

Goddess Pele
painting by Arthur Johnsen
There was an eerie feeling to knowing that the very ground beneath my feet was younger than I, and an admiration at the tenacity of odd tree able to nourish itself in the rock.  As we approached the crater the smell of sulphur intensified and indeed Kilauea’s main crater has been busy spewing suffer dioxide since an explosion of dust and rock in 2008. 

But Madame Pele can be found in more places that the crater of Kilauea .. she appears sometimes as a tall beautiful woman and at other times as a frail old crone.  Of course I’m not sure if I actually was graced with the presence of the divine…. But the water felt like heaven… cool on the skin and yet warm enough to swim in all day.  And so I swam with the fishes and floated among the corals…I soaked in the humid air, revelled in the clear skies and the sun that shone down upon me all week. but all good things come to an end and so we returned from the lands of molten rock with it’s goddess possessing  the creative force to transform and rebuild the landscape and our lives.

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