"Even small pieces can kill."
The beloved Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi is most famous for its lyric “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” An apt rendering of our modern age, it is sometimes difficult to imagine what this world must have been like before we totally dominated it. Before we imposed our mighty will upon its feeble strictures. But Hawaii has provided a glimpse of unpaved paradise these last few months.
There have been devastating rainfall and floods on the garden isle of Kauai. There has been a vicious concession grab on Oahu’s Waikiki and now a volcano is threatening the entirety of the Big Island.
For many years tourists have swooned as Kilauea has danced for their pleasure. Little mini eruptions, lava flows to the sea, steam etc. It is, in point of fact, the world’s most active volcano and has been since man has waltzed the earth.
Things had, anyhow, been getting more serious with Kilauea all month with larger sulfurous belches and lava flows burning fields, houses and roads. Then on May 17 the volcano blew its stack sending poisonous ash 30,000 feet into the air and also “lava bombs” which caused the first reported injury. And let us read:
A Hawaii man standing on his third-floor balcony was hurt Saturday when he was hit by lava spatter, becoming the first person injured by the Kilauea eruption.
The man’s leg was shattered from shin to foot as a result of the impact, according to Reuters. He has been identified as a homeowner on Noni Farms Road, but no additional information was immediately available.
“I heard the injury was quite bad, serious to his leg,” Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Lava spatters “can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill,” Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Mayor, County of Hawaii, told Reuters.
I mean, son of a bitch. I would imagine, if you were lounging on your third floor Hawaiian balcony, that you would feel immune to nature’s wrath. What could get you all the way up there? What could possibly cause you harm besides a bad building superintendent or fussy doorman? Certainly not a lava bomb. But there we have it. A cruel twist of fate.
Before today I did not know that “lava bombs” existed but from henceforth I shall keep an ear out for their potentiality even though I can’t imagine any effort could thwart. Maybe paradise is fighting back. In the meantime, would you like to watch a short informational video narrated by a man with a soothing accent? These things help in times like ours.
Now that you are comforted would you like to watch a music video of 90s college band Counting Crows covering Big Yellow Taxi? Sorry. I am going to make you anyway.