Lava is currently invading one area, Kaohe Homesteads, and threatens to run across Highway 130. Should this occur, it would cut off the communities of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and Hawaiian Beaches. Some businesses have already closed. Alternate routes are being developed by the County. I have friends, and co-workers, who have been frantically re-locating, finding storage units, and generally stressing out. My poor volunteer at work, who lives in Leilani Estates, cries every time I see her. Several of the folks I know are retirees, and their homes, and "dream homes," will be negatively impacted should the lava continue on its present path.
When we decided to move to the Big Island, we looked at homes that were in lava danger zones. They were less expensive, newer, and had more acreage. I was sorely tempted, but fortunately Mr. L., already earning his nickname, didn't think it was safe. We ended up buying a smaller, less vulnerable property, in Hilo. It turned out to be a great decision, in many ways (closer to work, schools, the hospital, the college, etc.). I remember Mr. L asking our realtor, "What about the lava?" and she replied, "We don't worry about it." Well, we were worried, so we decided "town" was a better fit for us. For the people who bought there -- they had to know the risks, but they rolled the dice. I hope they weren't sold a bill of goods.
Recently, the lava has slowed. That is good news in that it buys a little more time for the residents to deal with their circumstances. But, is it inevitable that things will get worse? It sort of sounds like it, according to the experts. I sincerely hope they are wrong. For some, if they just have to find an alternate route to get to Hilo, they can cope with that. For others, it means the end of a lifestyle they have worked hard to build. And then there is the waiting -- talk about stressful. My pal Alan has a good attitude . . . "Waiting for hot lava is a droll existence . . . get out and have fun." Another senior lady in Pahoa said, "What am I going to do? Sit around at home?" Maybe it's just the mentality of the people who are attracted to the area. They are a little quirky; very fatalistic. I admire their pioneer spirits; I wonder if I would have it in me to face life as they do.