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This is my house in the shadow of the Volcano
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My spouse awakened me this morning with all the lights on in the bedroom with the words “Mauna Loa is erupting!”. It was about 5:00am in Hawaii, and our Long Mountain, which had been producing minor earthquake clusters for the last couple of months, punctured the evening sky with a pulsating orange glow. We turned to broadcast and internet news right away, then headed back outside to take pictures. I first have to say, the northeast flank of Mauna Loa is pretty far from our home on the North Kohala Coast. But Jeff put on the zoom, and at 2.5X magnification, damn, that thing looked close. As the sun rose, the flow disappeared, and so far, no ash fall on this side of the island, and no evacuations have been ordered. Breaking news indeed. Wide awake at 5:40 and out taking photos – once-in-a-lifetime photos. Holy crap. So right now, both Mauna Loa and Kilauea are actively erupting. Welcome to the Big Island. Lots of emotions, gotta go through the fear of losing all of our possessions, like we did every year before we left California as the wildfires constantly threatened the Bay Area. And when my family lived in Miami, there were the hurricanes. Coming to grips with impermanence, not liking it much. We will have lived here full time for four years in January, in a sweet home that was just built. We have five cats now – three gingers that live outside and two Maine Coons that live inside, so of course the soft-sided cat carriers are at the front door. First things first. Started packing a bag. This house, our home, jeez, I’d hate to lose it. Makes me think about the images I look at every day – here in my office, there are three color sketches that my Mom made – a self portrait and one of me as a baby and my brother Chris as an infant. The journals and diaries. The scrap books. I have, like many others my age, digitized the oldest photos and backed them up. I’m spinning in my chair now, and freaking out. No need to do that, Rationality says. Mauna Loa was merely dormant, not extinct, and she was rumbling lately. Lava is now flowing down the flank. Everybody’s watching it. The United States Geological Survey is issuing constant tweets. It is new Earth being formed. It is raw power, it is natural. Is a “natural disaster” kind of an oxymoron? Aren’t man-made disasters so much worse? Anyway, life as we know it continues unabated.

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