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Silence of a Lava Field

We hurry as we race the setting sun. The air is perfect with a soft breeze brushing our cheeks, but we don’t notice. There are no lights out on the lava field and if we don’t move quickly we will be left with only small flashlights to find our way. Moving in a line, our eyes on the feet ahead of us, so as not to trip, I am last. I fall somewhat behind and my friend Mary waits up for me. As the group marches ahead into the closing dusk we stop for a minute.

The incredible silence wraps around us like a soft blanket, covering the landscape as far as we can see. I hold my breath to keep the purity of the silence for a sacred moment. I appeal to Mary; can we please be still a moment more? I feel like I have discovered a hidden cave of riches, that others would have easily found if they would have just stopped their crunching march long enough.

My breath releases and my body stills. This absence of noise, this remote hush soothes me. I crave more of it and I want to stay longer. The earth continues spinning and the sky is darkening and my flashlight is weak, but I don’t care.

This rarity of silence is mine. I will never forget it.

Mary succeeds in urging me forward. We are a group of photographers, come to see the ancient petroglyphs out on the lava fields of the Big Island. We photographers love that sunset time, thus we are here now. Our group has begun to reach the cars and, nobly, one of them turns their headlights toward us as a homing beacon, drawing us in. The diluted beam of my flashlight barely shows the path beneath my feet, but it’s no matter. Privately, I chant in time to my footsteps, feeling the Hawaiian spirits surround me. Spirit to spirit, spirit to spirit.


Finding myself in a place of mental spaciousness I drift back to those precious moments on the lava field. I’m happy to visit again, this time from the simplicity of my yoga mat. Class is almost over and my mind is free. I am able to stop and hear the quiet. In that open space my creativity soars like a swing in a circus tent. Ideas are born, problems solved, clarity is reached. I linger, just a moment more, to soak in this feeling.

It is the spaces in-between where the brilliance comes. In our busyness and to-do lists we forget to leave a space here and there for this. The pause. The breath. The moment.

It doesn’t take a trip to the Big Island or even a yoga class to have these spacious moments. A walk in the garden or a trail will do. Although I love to meditate for some reason I don’t do it enough. Susan Piver has wonderful ten-minute guided meditations she will email to you twice a week. She is lovely. She reminds me to stop with the computer and take that pause.

Something as simple as driving with the radio off can work miracles for a busy brain, especially after that yoga, or hike or stroll. Don’t forget to linger.

Knowing that something is good for you and actually doing it are two different things. In gifting time for you there will be more to give in return.




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