When asked if I wanted to hike across a field of lava, it almost struck me as a bit of a joke at the time. I wondered to my self, would the lava be hot, or lukewarm, would the hike be simple, or treacherous, and how does a person like myself prepare for such an excursion? Like many things in my life, I tend to say “yes!”with much enthusiasm, ready to take the plunge with much excitement, then later, when pondering the journey, wonder if I can handle the trek? To say that I leap first, then think about it when I am in mid flight, is a gross understatement. I am impulsive…oh yes I am. Sometimes this is a good thing, while other times, I land myself in boiling hot lava, and wonder again, how did I get here?
It is interesting to me as we embarked on this hike that I believed my friends, without reservation, when they promised there would be a glorious and epic beach on the other side of this adventure that would make all of hike so worth it and more. I had been to many beaches before this time, but how could I could I know that this time, this one would be even better. Of course I loved my friends, and I knew them to be trustworthy people. I knew from my past experience with them that this was so. I was a believer in friendship I guess you could say. Stick with me here, because I know you are thinking..”yes Jill…we get it..move along now…” Patience..I’m making a point, and I think it’s a good one. I believed, because I trusted, I had faith in my friends, that’s all I’m saying. When people have created a track record with you, you just believe, and therefore you leap into the unknown.
The day was warm and Hawaii type wonderful. The whole feel of this island and the humidity, and loveliness of the weather is a wonderful thing. The air seems to envelop and soothe your body, and your skin is kissed by the sun lovingly as you walk along the lava trail. I had been advised to bring some tennis shoes, or hiking ones, and I am pleasd to report that I had been obedient and practical for a change, and decided that more fashionable and fun( high heeled shoes) was not the way to go here. Finally, at long last, in my 50th year I’m actually becoming practical! Yes…miracles do happen. I had always believed, but now I’m a living testimonial to this fact.
The boulders on this path were jagged, and while stepping, I continually was looking down , and watching my step, aware I could roll an ankle with each turn. It certainly wasn’t an easy course, but as my friend Kathy remarked, every so often, there would be a little place , almost a resting ground, where the rocks were smaller, and the stepping was simpler. It gave your feet a wee bit of a rest. This was nice, this was welcomed. There were so many analogies, and ideas floating around in my brain at this time. It was undeniable to feel like this hike seemed to epitomize life. It often feels like all we do is wander about in the blackness, the burnt scorch of our lives, barely looking up, feeling as if we will fall at any moment. I thought about the fact, that in this situation I could not just look forward, and plod ahead…I had to tread very carefully while staring down. An interesting thing happened for me while doing this. I think I became more tired, and the road ahead seemed very long. I was getting winded…I was out of breath, I was beginnings to falter. I wondered..how much further, and would it truly be worth the journey?..My resolve was beginning to cave. Then there in the distance…I saw it..a patch of aqua blue, a hint of white, the mighty sound of the surf, and my step quickened. There , in the distance was Macalawena, the beach of hope , the promise of soft cool, pure sand, and warm, clear ocean. All of a sudden..I needed no prodding, my rocky journey was inconsequential, because up ahead was paradise, so what of the hardship, the sweat, and the frustration, all of that was slipping into oblivion, when I kept looking into my future goal. Of course how can I help but see this as a apt illustration of heaven and hell. I believe in this stuff, and this very practical and tangible walk had brought it all really home to me in a close and personal way. I remarked about this to my friends who of course, had thought this same thing, as had their kiddos on this hike before. As soon as we hit the sand, there was promise of purpose realized. Even though I still kept on my shoes until we reached our destination, as soon as I sat down on the beach, and undid my shoes, unpeeled my socks, that first dip of my toes into the cool fine softness can only be described as heavenly…yes that’s the only word I can use to describe it. I can’t ever remember a beach so beautiful. It was simply incredible. We wasted no time, in shedding our clothes, and heading with glorious abandon towards the sea. It was the perfect temperature…refreshing and pure. We dove in, and body surfed the waves, and jumped about like a bunch of happy dolphins…no wonder they are so happy, by the way. Even writing about this brings a smile to my face. What a day, what a place. After we had swam and frolicked for a while, we opened up our lunch cooler. There we dined on black olives, dates and sharp cheddar, quacamole and chips, spritzer water and wine. It was just delightful. There were books to read, friends to chat to, and best of all, we almost had the beach to ourselves. It truly was a glorious day. The trip across the lava field was forgotten in my mind in this moment. I knew that I would have to go back through it, but even this , now knowing, I had come through it once, I believed that I would have the indurance to do it again, so I did not even give it another thought. Nothing could take the pure joy, and sensation from this moment… This was a gift, a reward, for not giving up, for staying the course, this was a little piece of heaven on earth right here, and I was going to take it all in, and not fret about the future walk back.
This experience will be something I think about a great deal in the future. It was so impactful to me on so many levels. I think life experiences that give us pause to reflect on where we have been, and to give us hope for our future are so valuable. I will remember …the next time, and there will be one…or a billion, when I have to watch my feet, watch my way, and I will not be able to gaze at the horizon, and this will be disheartening. I’m reminding myself now to be cognesant, to be present, and not forget. There will be blackness, there will be impossibly huge boulders in my way, but if I can trust that there is one who pulls me through, who lifts me up from the deep, one who “establishes my way…” I will not falter. I will not fall into the abyss, tempting as that is at times. I will not give up, even when I lose sight of what is up ahead. There us promise, and I will ask for help, I will reach out to friends..to family…I will not isolate myself. These are things meant to be shared, and they are spectacular. The comraderery found here is life giving, and wonderful, never to be underestimated, or taken for granted. I’m so thankful for renewed friendships, for a day at beach, for sharing and caring, for spending time with friends’ families. It is so good…….🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴