Poli’ahu at Dawn

1 Jun

My thanks to Madison Woods for using a picture I took for this week’s FridayFictioneers photo prompt. I’m looking forward to reading the many 100 word stories that will be produced by the burgeoning stream of authors in our growing group. Read Madison’s story here and comment on others and/or add your own link. Don’t be shy. We were all once in the position of submitting our first story. I, for one, look forward to writing mine and I’m sure, once you dive in, that you will be no different.

I’m fortunate to be able to say that I drive up the road that is barely visible in the lower right of the photo every time I go to work. I never forget what a special place the summit of Mauna Kea is and I never lose sight of its majesty. It is the tallest mountain in the world (when measured from the seabed floor it rises from). In the background you can see the gentle slope of the most massive (by volume) volcano in the world, Mauna Loa (Long Mountain) rising from sea level toward its summit to the right and out of the picture. Thirty six miles separates the two summits but they are within 100 feet in height of each other. Pretty amazing.

For this week’s story I felt compelled to honor the namesake of the cinder cone that is central to the image and have included a link to help you see things through my eyes. Thanks for reading and, as always, aloha. D.

 She dreams of full flowing streams tumbling down gulches worn smooth and deep in the basalt backbone of Hamakua. She feels the warm sun and watches her children working the taro fields of the lowlands.

As she dreams, snow swirls out of the gray haku that wreaths her head, covering her broad shoulders with a cloak of quicksilver beneath the darkling heavens. Downslope, ocher cinder gives way to verdant ‘Ohi’a forest and the snow turns to rain that falls from on high for all the long night.

First light finds the land blessed; the streams alive with happy music of rushing water.

Poli’ahu rests as dawn comes to Hawai’i.

64 Responses to “Poli’ahu at Dawn”

  1. Craig Towsley June 1, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Wow, fantastic piece Doug. We tumble right into it, as we follow the words of the first sentence. “Downslop, ochre cinder” is my new favourite combo of words.

    Great picture by the way. Cheers.

    • dmmacilroy June 1, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Dear Craig,

      Thanks for such a nice comment. I’m smiling in gratitude as I type.



  2. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields June 1, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    I started to go with Hawaiian folk lore, but wasn’t comfortable enough so I went with history instead. You did a beautiful job. Put me in mind of Steinbeck’s description of the Salinas Valley in East of Eden.
    Thanks for your comments on my story. I respect your opinions.
    Aloha and Shalom,

    • dmmacilroy June 1, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Thanks for visiting, Rochelle. Hawaiian folklore is a tough nut to crack. Its taken me thirty some years to get a feel for it. I appreciate you mentioning Steinbeck and my writing in the same paragraph. Made my day.



  3. oldentimes June 1, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Thanks for sharing your picture. This is a great post.
    Mine can be found here: http://oldentimes.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/friday-fictioneers-june-1-apocalypse/

    • dmmacilroy June 1, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Thanks for visiting. I loved your piece this week. Apocalypse was very well done.



  4. Reading Pleasure June 1, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Your most beautiful so far, Doug. A fine piece of poetry that sucks me in. And thanks for the explanation, I cracked my brains in vain. Of course the Mauna Loa. (from my geography lessons in school). Mine is here: http://readinpleasure.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/fridayfictioneers-my-pilot/

  5. Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla June 1, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Lovely, Doug, nature poetry, really. It, of course, reminds me of Amerind myths from the mountains I used to live in. If only people could see nature as part of themselves, all a living entity, it would solve a lot of problems. My story is from clearly another side! http://repuestodelatabla.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/friday-fictioneer-100-word-story-flat-top/

  6. unspywriter June 1, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    The thing that stood out most to me during my two visits to Hawai’i was how people spoke of the volcanoes as living things, and you’ve captured and enhanced that. A wonderful piece for an early morning read. Beautiful.

    Here’s my post: http://unspywriter.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/friday-fictioneers-goes-to-mars/

    Or to go directly to the story: http://unspywriter.wordpress.com/friday-fictioneers/expendable/

  7. TheOthers1 June 1, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    I was struggling to leave a comment that wouldn’t mirror what’s already been said, but I’m lacking in eloquence today. Beautiful storytelling, Doug. Thanks for sharing

  8. Carol Deminski June 1, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    I think you should consider writing poetry, in addition to flash. You tend toward a more poetic bent in many of your pieces.

    Just a thought! 🙂


    • dmmacilroy June 1, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Dear Carol,

      How is it that your green light on G-mail chat isn’t lit? I want to talk.

      Thanks for your comment re poetry. That is something to contemplate. Do you know The Ode to the Three Toed Tree Toad?

      Hope you are well.



  9. Mike June 1, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Both your beautiful picture and magical words made me wish I was there.
    Thanks for a great read Doug.

  10. Russell June 1, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    I really appreciate your respect and admiration for the beauty of nature, and you have such a gracious way of describing it–inviting all of us to enjoy the wonders of creation and giving us a glimpse of that “mountain top” experience. Thanks, Doug!

    here’s mine http://russellgayer.blogspot.com/

  11. EmmaMc June 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    A beautiful creation Doug. It ambled along so gently you almost feel at one with the mountain. Thanks for such a wonderful picture as well.


  12. Running from Hell with El June 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Morning Doug!

    Beautiful and lyrical piece, as always!!


  13. elmowrites June 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Once again, Doug, you both inspire and educate. I enjoyed the link, but I enjoyed your story more. I need you to teach me the art of descriptive writing!
    I’m over here, with a different kind of mythology: http://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/friday-fiction-guilt-trip/

  14. Sheila June 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Wow! That is so beautiful! Your story captures the essence of the photo perfectly. Well done. Here’s mine:http://cowpasturechronicles.blogspot.com/2012/05/final-climb.html

  15. Joanna (Lazuli Portals) June 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Stunning photo, Doug, and written with respect for the land and its history. I love the ‘First light finds the land blessed’ phrase. Well, that one and several others!

    Ours is a little long: http://www.lazuli-portals.com/flash-fiction/time-is-running-out

  16. theforgottenwife June 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Beautiful picture, beautiful story. Wonderfully done, as always. I love reading what you write every week! Thank you for stopping by mine: http://theforgottenwife.com/2012/05/30/friday-fictioneers-1-june-2012-the-conquerer/

  17. Janet June 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Breathtaking picture and beautiful poetic prose. Your feelings for the majesty of these mountains come through in your words. Just wonderful.

  18. flyoverhere June 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Beautiful Doug! I felt that I was almost there and could feel the breathtaking beauty of a place that I have long wanted to visit.

  19. tedstrutz June 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Absolutely Lovely… I need say no more.

    Thank you for sharing your photos and stories.


  20. erinleary June 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Great prose about a beautiful place where all things seem somehow more sacred.

    Thanks for sharing your photo this week!

    Mine is here: http://erinleary.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/flash-friday-fiction-3/

  21. susielindau June 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Beautiful imagery painted with your words. No photo needed, but it is beautiful. I was there 15 years ago and remember the “a’a” rocks!

  22. prosingon June 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    You are one of the luckiest men on earth. Judging by your story, you are fully aware of this! How could each day be anything but spectacular with this as a starting point. Enjoy your day, Koukalaka!

  23. N Filbert June 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    I’m curious…is this what you “saw” when you “saw” it and captured? Very nicely done. Adds a lot of emotion to the vision. Thank you Doug

  24. mysocalledDutchlife June 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    A great weaving of the story, fit for a goddess. Beautiful, just like the picture.

    I’m here: http://mysocalleddutchlife.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/friday-fictioneers-1st-june/

  25. teschoenborn June 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    You truly have one of the more wonderful jobs in the world. Thanks for sharing this with all us Friday Fictioneers. I can certainly see why the Hawaiian deified their volcanoes.

    Here’s mine:http://teschoenborn.com/2012/06/01/friday-fictioneers-4/

  26. Scott Hays June 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Basalt backbones and quicksilver coats … physical reality personified in rich imagery. As Carlos pointed out (damn it, he takes the words out of my mouth every time … so I’ll have to change them for him here), if we could re-establish our connections with natural systems and see the world as the web of connections it actually is, we would be much better off. I’m hoping you have time to drop by and take a look at my offerings this week (http://scottcheck.blogspot.com/2012/06/desolation.html). By the way, thanks for the inspiration.

    • dmmacilroy June 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      Dear Scott,

      Just visited In the Lab and Omens and thoroughly enjoyed them both. Left some comments there.

      Thanks for visiting here and commenting as well.



  27. Atiya June 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    First off I’m super jealous that you get to see this every day. With that out the way, thank you for such a lovely picture. I’m not at all familiar with the folklore of Hawaii, so to read this makes me want to dive right into the world you’ve just created. What a great tale which I’m sure if you wanted could be a much longer and definitely beautiful story. Thank you for reading my blog. Here is the link so others can read. http://remakingme-atiyatownes.blogspot.com/2012/06/friday-flash-fiction-start-day.html

  28. Brandon Scott June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    A wonderful story to go with a wonderful photo. Is there anything you can’t do?


    • dmmacilroy June 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      Hi Brandon,

      Thanks for commenting. Left you a message at Be Warned. Get well and keep writing.



  29. Nifti June 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Good job Doug. And I tried to imagine driving through such a beautiful scene everyday… check mine out: http://niftitalks.com/2012/06/01/a-prayer/

  30. Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) June 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    I felt like I was there…you painted such a divine picture, Doug. I’ve always thought of the mountains in Hawai’i as people/deities/entities…Mauna Loa is a particular favorite. Oh, and Haleakalā…and…oh, I love them all.

    ~Susan (www.susanwenzel.com)

    • dmmacilroy June 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      Hi Susan,

      I was thinking of you when I wrote it. Knew that your discerning eyes would be watching. Thanks for stopping by. Off to look for yours now.



      • Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) June 2, 2012 at 2:42 am #

        Yes…they were. I appreciated the stirring comment you left on my little story as well.

  31. Gray Toast June 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Very cool. Love the quicksilver cloak. Here’s a share: http://saberdragon.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/friday-flash-fiction-an-excerpt-from-saber/#comment-239

  32. Beth Carter June 2, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    What can I say that hasn’t been said? Beautiful eloquence, Doug–both the photo and your story. Thank you for bringing us a piece of Hawaii.

    Mine is here: http://banterwithbeth.blogspot.com

  33. Jake Kale June 2, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    Damn, Doug, you write like a boss! Beautiful imagery, beautifully conveyed. I’ll be back to watch that video later today as well.

    Here’s my entry. I’m really sorry to say that I didn’t use this prompt as I had one and a story to go with it already. I’ll make it up to you, though.

  34. Madison Woods June 2, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    That was beautiful Doug. I loved the story of the goddesses, too, and the imagery of the mountain personified as a woman/goddess/earth mother/Mauna Loa is moving. It was a beautiful photo in a dark sort of way to me, but I found it very hard to write my story from it.

  35. Carrie June 2, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Beautiful and elegant. Very fitting for such a majestic mountain. I am very jealous you get to work there. Once upon a time I had a brief dream to be a volcanologist (is that the right term for it? My memory eludes me)

    • dmmacilroy June 2, 2012 at 4:58 am #

      Dear Carrie,

      Yes, that is the term. (You’re too young for your memory to be eluding you.) What happened to that dream? Run over by a better one?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate the effort you made to connect and share.



      • Carrie June 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

        I love geology and all aspects of it…but I such at physics and math so I could never get past those first year courses in university. Went for an English degree instead 🙂

        Guess that wasn’t a total loss lol.

    • dmmacilroy June 2, 2012 at 5:04 am #

      Thanks Carrie,

      Don’t be jealous. Come live here now! Headed to your blog now. Must find out more about you.



  36. Derek Osedach June 2, 2012 at 4:52 am #

    Great work, man. Loved the language, how the dream was as beautiful as the world around her as she slept. Great photo too.


    • dmmacilroy June 2, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      Dear Derek,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I enjoyed your ‘Big Move’ very much. You joined the ranks of FridayFictioneers who saw a mountain missing its top. Very cool.



  37. sphrbn June 2, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Beautifully written, doug, it’s told like a true legend

  38. Kwadwo June 2, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    This is a lovely piece. Having a firsthand perspective to these two mountains and a love for that environment, you give the rest of us who had to imagine things in the picture a realistic experience of the place.

    Thanks for the prologue to the story. It sheds more light on the subject.

    Here’s mine: http://logo-ligi.com/2012/06/01/the-standpoint/

    • dmmacilroy June 2, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Thank you, Sir. Your story was one of the first I got to read this weekend. You really captured the narrow focus of scientists in the piece.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting here.



      • Kwadwo June 2, 2012 at 11:32 am #

        I hope to visit Hawaii sometime in the future.

        It’s such a beautiful place.

  39. Jeffrey Hollar June 2, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    This was a wondrously poetic and flowing tribute to the ability of nature to inspire one. You \r choice of words and the flow pay fitting tribute to these majestic peaks. Thanks, too, for your feedback on my offering. You outdid yourself this week, sir.

  40. dbfurches June 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Lovely picture, and a lovely story to go with it. Thank you so much, Doug. And thanks for your comments on my blog.
    In your last sentence, I thought “the streams alive with happy music of rushing water” might flow better as “streams alive with the happy music of rushing water.”

  41. Kathy McClure June 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Hard to type when crying, whew. You have a gift, that was a beautiful representation, and the video was a wonderful lesson as well.


  42. rich June 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    when does hawaii start using what you wrote on their tourist info? it’d sure help make people want to visit – not that they need it.

  43. JKBradley June 3, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    So very poetic and beautiful, Doug.

    Here’s mine: http://thebradleychronicles.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/flash-fiction-friday-an-addiction/

  44. Sandra June 3, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Really beautiful language in this. And congrats on the photo too, really impressive. Sorry I couldn’t join in this week – internet connection playing up.

  45. Sonia Lal June 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Beautiful! Love the imagery and the god personified.


  1. Friday Fiction – Guilt Trip | elmowrites - June 1, 2012

    […] to Madison Woods (http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/desolation/) and Doug McIlroy (https://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/poliahu-at-dawn/) for today’s prompt. I hope you enjoy the story it invoked for me. As ever, let me know what […]

  2. Payback « Postcard Fiction - June 1, 2012

    […] weeks photo is curtosy of Douglas McIlroy.  Read his story here. Share this: Pin ItLike this:Like5 bloggers like this post. Flash FictionFriday […]

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