Place Where You Live:

Hilo, Hawai’i

We are no Honolulu, no Waikiki, no North Shore, this seat of an island-wide county, located on the island that lends its name to the State. An island growing, but living here means one day your home, your town, may be erased by the wrath of Pele. It’s been decades – over a century really, since lava flowed this way and threatened our town, but who knows what Mauna Loa has in store. A “Daily Eruption and Lava Flow Update”, a Pele mood report, broadcast daily on the radio keeps tabs on the active volcanoes we’re living on and provides an indication of the number of “lava refugees” who may be moving into town. The land is sharp or folded from ʻaʻā or smooth and hard from pāhoehoe. The beaches are black. The turquoise waters hidden at times when the coastal ocean is turned to tea and chill from the torrent of the rivers flushing the rain-soaked land into the sea. A land of many blues skies… just off shore. Bumper stickers spotted on island beaters are telling of the daily weather forecast: “Get over it, it’s a rainforest” and “Hilo Rain Festival: 1 January – 31 December”. Sunshine may pour down in quick reprieve until minutes later a downpour beams the ground, and just as quickly sunrays return causing rainbows to populate the skies almost as much as they do the cars. That license plate ornamentation is justified. Besides, the weather may be different a few miles mauka or makai. If you choose mauka, depending on which volcano you ascend, you head to the vog and land of fiery Pele or closer to the crystal clear stars where Poliʻahu coolly resides. And, sunshine is prevalent on the other side, the Kona side, of the island – as are tourists. We are not ruled by tourists here. This town is real and lovely. Be careful what you picture when you assign an aura to this place.