It looks like California here, Malibu maybe. There is an auburn, sun-dried, oceanic feel here, without the dessication of Nevada or Arizona. No, water is welcome and visits more than rarely.
A half-minute’s walk from here is the sea, sloshing against immense rock. All is lava here, but this is older stuff, slower and hard-baked without pumice or sharpness. Standing on it does not cause it to prickle and implode into your foot. It accepts you.
The two brothers jump in. The younger one is hesitant and gently teased by the older, but not afraid. It’s more about due diligence: to this side? run first? what if? Just throw in your slippers and jump. Mom has the youngest, floating with the pink tube. She has no concern. She floats in the ocean the way she once floated in mother water, the way she let the brothers float in her.
The bottom falls off to lighter color, knuckles of solid rock extending out in natural piling. Polynesians first come here solved the problem of being pulled away by currents–with nothing to stop them until Antarctica–by drilling holes in the cliff. Lines tied to their canoes gave them access to the rich fishing a few hundred or so yards out. You can see the holes still, the guidebook says. For now, I have too many bandages to go look.
No one has fear here, on this side. Standing at the edge I understand they must have respect. Getting close for the best shot makes the wind blow harder, makes foot placement a careful consideration. A gust in wind like the one I experienced in water would be more than enough to…. I stand in profile to the wind to give it less to grab.
This is the leeward side, where people have truck-camped with awnings spread out in front, the smell of garlic shrimp wafting up and down. People sit in fold-up beach chairs. One guy naps, his hands folded over his stomach, his feet crossed on a table. They wait as fishermen do, or as guys who need to save cash for truck payments. The bank doesn’t take ahi.
Less than a minute takes you west, to the windward side. The wind is no stronger here, but has thousands of miles to unleash itself on the ocean.
You can feel the surf more than hear it. iPhone pictures don’t capture a fraction of the compression wave and great thud as the water hurls itself over and down. Would it keep curling under itself, binding and enclosing, increasing in density to a tight hot nothing? We are in an ocean of space, but the ocean isn’t. We don’t know. The ocean is finite but unbounded.