The dreaded lava rock!
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
With that out of the way, now I
must tell you the following story which started on the island of
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.
The actual lava rock in
its natural setting I decided to make a
souvenir of one of the
rocks which 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
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:
7th - The lawnmower broke
- March 11th - My new PC
arrived "dead on arrival"
- March 13th - My washing
machine fan belt caught fire
- March 16th - The
garage door opener bit the dust
- March 17th - My
tire blew out and I had to change it in the pouring rain
18th - I came home from work to find that the toilet mechanism had
broken and 8 hours worth of water had been shooting all over the
Throughout the rest of the year
many other things
happened to me. Some may have been "rock related" and some may not.
They included such things as my windshield breaking, cancer in the
family, numerous missed opportunities, termites and so on.
Any one of
these problems could be easily explained, but taken together, I knew
there was something else at work here. This was the worst year of any I
have had so far.
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.
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
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
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.
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!