by Susan Ullis
There was an earthquake in Chile
February 27, 2010
8.8 at 3:34 am.
A true nightmare of shattered
earth and broken hearts
helpless in the hands
of megathrust and tsunami.
And the ,
continued, as water will do,
to roil and churn.
Geologists and newscasters remembered
the killer tsunami of 1964 – 159 dead –
and 1960 – 61 dead – and
the Indian Ocean's
two hundred thirty thousand dead.
They calculated the possibilities
and sent us a telephone message
at 5:30 am Hawaiian Standard Time
alerting us to an approaching
Friends called from Phoenix, Seattle,
LA, and the ones who just arrived in
Poi'pu the night before
came up to us on higher ground
to take us out to breakfast.
The Kalaheo Cafe was swarming
with cars and people and a serpentine line
so we headed for Grinds in Ele'ele then
turned around when no one was going our way
and the oncoming lane was packed.
Two hours later we finished our sandwiches
at Kukui-o-lono and ventured out for a stroll.
It was a lovely day; cool, comfortable,
light winds. A good day for a crowd of
people to sit on the lawn around the
Pavilion, politely conversing
about interconnectedness and
the repercussions of certain events,
waiting for a wave to appear.
But it never did, really. Not here.
No massive wall of white water
roaring toward the coast. No slamming
and crashing of rapacious waves
into the Hyatt or Waiohai.
Now, given how destructive that would have been,
even with the possibility of death . . .
Yet, after all that fuss and hustle bustle to get
everyone safely away from the shore to
sit and scan the apparently placid ocean
through 200mm lenses with all antennae up;
Well, tell me if you didn't notice
that meandering scent of disappointment
in the anti-climatic air.