Protea from a plant shop at the base of Haleakala.
Below, a silvery shrub growing on Mount Haleakala, the site of the (currently) extinct volcano. Silver plants, in this very clear light, literally glow with a very white-silver light. The difference between the look of this plant - a little twiggy, misshapen - and the feel of the leaves - velvety, soft - is intriguing.
Another silver plant: this one is called Silversword. I believe that it is extinct in most regions of the world, and is being carefully cultivated at this high-altitude elevation in raised beds or planting areas carefully restricted from people's footsteps.
Because Hawaii is geographically separated from most other land masses on the planet, it has a restricted number of biological and botanical species. For example, there are only two butterflies indigenous to Maui, and there are a vast number of species - according to the information at Haleakala - that become extinct because they are unable to present sufficient numbers as well as prolong their existence until some sort of diversity develops. Very interesting: this barrenness in the midst of all of this plenty.
The summit, with a few visitors looking at a sign about the Science area that is closed to the public. How often do you see a picture like this: no buildings, no power lines, no streets, no crowds - just land and sky and a few human beings?
While the plants look green and lush as you hike the lower trails, many of the growing things- to the touch - have the fleshy feel of desert plants holding onto to water.
Ferns, brown and dry, along the trail.
For contrast, a view of a trail off the road to Hana. At sea level, many mountain streams and waterfalls, next to the ocean, and a more temperate climate. Here, lots of beautiful carpet-soft moss.
And sun. Oh, sun and sky, where have you gone in Chicago? Today there is a tiny glimmer of blueness, but otherwise, it is winter in the Midwest: overcast, sodden, grey skies; no sign of sun; no mountains or oceans; and the rapidly accelerating slide toward the winter holidays.
My plan is to try to counterbalance the rest by dosing myself a bit, each day, with something enjoyable - photos from Maui, some knitting, some cooking, some reading (The Invention of Air - about philosophers/scientists/politicians in the 18th century, including the redoubtable Ben Franklin and Joseph Priestley - and Dorothy Sayers' mysteries, especially anything with Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey), some watching of good, sitcom television (Third Rock and The Office and Scrubs), some old movies (Arsenic and Old Lace) and the lighting of lots of candles. Here's wishing you some light and some laughter this season. Without a sense of humor, how would we bear it all?