One of our first stops in Hawaii (on the island of Maui; I still get all the various islands confused. Just too many vowels …) was Haleakala National Park. Yeah, the name’s a handful, but the first four letters are pronounced “holly.” That helps.
Haleakala is basically a big volcanic crater. It takes a long time to drive up to it, and there are excursions where you can start at the top and bike down it, at sunrise no less. Since the road can get pretty narrow and steep, I think this would be a little scary, but pretty awesome as well.
Our tour guide was a college girl, thrilled to have landed an internship here, but unfortunately I retained approximately none of what she said.
One thing I enjoyed were the silversword plants we saw everywhere. This variety, at least, grows only here in Haleakala National Park.
It’s a succulent plant (think cactus), and the leaves are designed in a way to withstand the freezing cold temperatures at night, and the sun’s strength during the day. Their leaves are covered with shiny silver hairs and are curved into a shape that focuses the sunlight onto the plant’s growing point. This can raise the temperature of the growing point by up to 40 degrees!
It’s fragile as well; there were signs not to walk on the ground around these plants because their roots are so shallow that even walking on the dirt surrounding them could kill them.
It can live around 50 years, at which point it puts up a flowering shoot that blooms for a few weeks, and then the plant dies.
I loved this plant and its lessons. First, just the idea of God’s creativity in making a plant with such suitable features for its environment. Then, the fact of it blooming once after so many years. Is there a lesson here? Does it take most people 50 years to “bloom?” I hope not!
And then, hopefully we can “bloom” and continue living …