First, let me say that I am NOT superstitious! There is always a scientific explanation for every occurrence (even if we don't see the link). I believe in gravity, magnetism, and many other phenomena which I cannot see. I don't believe in magic (unless you are talking about sleight of hand), nor do I believe in "luck" in and of itself. Luck is just catching a run of similar occurrences.
With that out of the way, now I must tell you the following story which
started on the island of Kauai...
|Driving southward on Kauai from Wailua, I passed the Russian Fort and arrived in the quaint town of Waimea. Just over the bridge is a left turn into the Lucy Wright Beach Park. Captain Cook landed here in 1778. The beach is somewhat dark as there appears to be ground lava in the sand. Also common on the beach are small lava rocks.|
|I decided to make a souvenir of one of the rocks shown in the picture (the smaller of the two in the center). It just fit in my hand and had a nice texture. It was to sit on top on my computer at the office for a year.|
The Hawaiian post offices receive many packages of lava rocks which people have returned. There is a reason why.
I had heard stories of bad luck following people who take things from the islands. "Ha!" I thought. Let me tell you just SOME of the things that happened to me after taking this rock.
In just a 10 day period the following happened to me:
There are many stories about lava rocks and bad luck. One explanation is that a tour bus operator on the Big Island was so tired of cleaning up lava dust, that he made up a story about lava being bad luck, so people would not bring them on the bus.
Others think that Pele (the goddess) brings the bad luck. Certainly those people who have found their houses and selves in the path of flowing lava will attest to bad luck.
Co-workers also began asking me to get rid of "the rock".
I decided that on my next trip (and not a minute too soon) I would take
the rock back.
|I carried the rock in an anti-static bag (can't be too careful) and arrived safely back on the same beach. I took a few pictures of the lava because I really liked the rock. I put it on the sign at the park and snapped a shot, then headed down to where I first found it.|
Tom and Lampy Lowy (my Bed and Breakfast hosts) suggested that I place
a small offering with the rock, or that I wrap the rock in ti leaves before
putting it on the beach. Ti leaves are supposed to bring good luck (let's
not go off on that tangent right now). In order to get ti leaves I would
have had to "take them" from the side of the road. I opted for the small
"offering" instead. Tom suggested a quarter. Anything more than a quarter
and he wanted to know where I was putting the money. He is making jokes
while I'm trying to get rid of "the rock".
|Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I was there at the beach and ready to put the rock down. Near me is a truck and a local fisherman. Over to my left is the Russian Fort and a number of tourists standing looking at me and the beach. I waited until the fisherman left and took a final close-up shot of the rock in my hand.|
Here is where it gets pretty weird, and that is assuming that you don't
think this is weird already...
|I had been standing on the beach for maybe 4 minutes for the fisherman to leave. I leaned down, placed the rock (with a quarter underneath it) on the sand and stood up. I put the camera to my eye and as I started to click the picture, I felt water at my feet. I snapped the picture, lowered the camera and looked down. The rock was gone! I swear I'm not making this up, the lava rock was gone! No other waves had come recently nor later, but as the picture shows, there is water there in this shot.|
I have no idea what the tourists saw, but when I jumped, I heard laughter from some of them.
It was probably just a coincidence that the wave came along just as I put the rock on the beach, right? Anyway, the rock is back where I found it and I have had only minor problems since then.
When it comes right down to it, I'm not sure whether I had bad luck or coincidental problems. In any event, I did come to realize that if tourists like me take things from the islands, the islands and their people suffer. Imagine what Mount Rushmore would look like if every visitor took just a little chuck of it home with them. Imagine what the forest would look like if every visitor cut just one tree.
I think the island needed the lava rock more than I did, and I returned it. It just wasn't worth the trouble!
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by Mark Shultise.
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