A haggard old man slowly walks along the rim of a volcanic crater on Oahu’s western plains. Aged though he was, he tirelessly traces the edge of the crater with each step, never stopping, never slowing.
Many in the village to the east wondered why the old man continued to circle the crater day in and day out. Every once in a while, a brave villager mustered the courage to seek out the old man to learn the purpose of this arduous task.
However, no one that left the safety of the village in search of an answer were seen ever again.
This should have been enough of a warning for those wishing to understand the actions of a madman, but despite the disappearances, villagers continued to trek to top of the crater to ask the man the question that burned inside of them– why do you do it?
This very question burned deep in the heart of one young lad as hotly as the lava that surely flowed within the volcano itself and he decided he needed to know the answer. The day finally came where we could wait no longer and made plans to set out at dawn.
As was the common practice, the lad said his goodbyes to friends and family before setting out, believing he would never see them ever again. Though they were not happy to see him go, the villagers understood that those with the question could not be deterred. They bade him farewell and wished good tidings upon him as he set out in the dim morning light on the 20 mile trek that would take him across the western plains and then to the top of the imposing crater.
The journey to the crater was surprisingly smooth and the lad found himself approaching his destination far quicker than expected. With the answer to his burning question finally within reach, he could barely contain himself as he reached the top of the crater’s rim and approached the old man, smiling and offering salutations.
However, to the lad’s dismay, the mumbling old man did not even acknowledge his presence, and instead just continued his weary walk and trudged right past the lad.
This could not be! He felt that he may die if he didn’t get an answer to the question of questions. Distraught, the lad dipped his head and gazed straight into the mouth of the volcano that opened wide before him. The lad suspected he was about to meet the same fiery fate as the villagers who came before him.
And then he saw it.
The great crater did not encircle a lake of fire, but rather, he saw a lush valley of such natural beauty that it took his breath away. The question that burned within him had been quelled as well– though the old man has not uttered a single word, the lad new the answer.
And so it was that the young lad made his way down into the crater and settled in Kapolei.
Though it’s barely 20 miles from Honolulu, moving to Kapolei is akin to moving away to another country for a lot of locals. Family and friends will somberly tell you how they “hope to see you again one day,” despite the fact that Kapolei is barely a 30 minute drive away.
Kapolei may not technically be a verdant valley hidden in the crater of a sleeping volcano, but it is nonetheless quite beautiful. Far enough away from the noise of the city, it’s quiet and peaceful here as you have space to breath and think.
The city of Kapolei marks the beginning of the western side of the island that remains a mystery even for many locals, and I continue to discover new things each time I head out to explore the many hidden corners of Kapolei and beyond.