A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-36

This week: no updates!

It was such a busy week that I did not have time to write. I will put the subjects I have in mind on the back burner for next week, and send you a story that I wrote when we lived on the Big Island for twelve years. It was truly paradise. On the Big Island you can go from the beach and swim and snorkel in the warm waters to the top of Mauna Kea (the White Mountain, because it has snow on top in the winter) in a matter of hours. And you can drive through the Ka’u Desert to the coffee plantations on the Kona side through the black lava fields to the cowboy pastures in the north. To drive around the island takes about five hours total.

I wrote this story when I spent a weekend with a church group in Kilauea Military Camp, high on the slopes of the active volcano Kilauea. Kilauea has been erupting since 1984, hot lava flowing down the pali (slope) towards the ocean, destroying everything in its way. Upon entering the ocean water it creates hot steam changing into clouds of glassy strands, called “Pele’s Hair”. Pele is the Goddess of the Volcano.

I could go on and on with fascinating stories about Hawai’i. Imagine living there!

Kilauea Sunrise

The huge cloud bank over the opposite rim of Kilauea Caldera seemed motionless, but its wispy top, barely visible against the lightening night sky, betrayed the strong winds that were propelling it horizontally across the abyss. Some ten or twelve plumes of white sulphuric steam rose straight up from cracks in the caldera floor. To the east, white steam was escaping with great force from the steep wall of the crater, a horizontal waterfall.

I stood on the rim of Halema’uma’u Crater that Saturday morning, bundled up against the early morning cold and unexpectedly strong winds, thankful that I had woken long before my alarm was supposed to go off. Having spent the night at Kilauea Military Camp, only a few minutes’ walk from the crater rim trail, this was a chance in a lifetime to watch the sunrise over Kilauea.

Amidst ‘Ama’uma’u ferns and low shrubbery around me ‘Ohi’a trees stood silhouetted against the eastern sky. On the ground a thin layer of light colored mosses suddenly made me think of manna in the desert. The last stars faded against the pastel sky. Pink and orange hues painted the clouds, and a bright orange line across the top accented the place where the sun was still hiding. A few more minutes and it appeared in all its glorious brightness.  “When morning gilds the skies…”

The dense cloud bank over the opposite rim dissipated unexpectedly. To the west, the new day’s light defined the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater. It was steaming, a slow, steady, rising curtain of steam. Right over the crater, a single large cloud, changing color from dark gray to pink to light gray, lingered as the sun rose higher in the now light blue sky. It remained in place for as long as I stood there.

Again, I thought of the Israelites in the desert and I felt the presence of God. How beautiful is His creation! How privileged am I to be a part of it. 

Ronny de Jong
October 1999

It’s a wonderful Life!

Until next time,




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