At the bottom of Chain-of-Craters road inside Hawaii Volcano National Park is a 0.7-mile trail leading to the Pu’u Loa petroglyph field. I’d never been there before and was really glad to see a boardwalk at the end protecting the find. People respected the area, for the most part, staying on the wood, instead of boulder hopping which wears away the fragile native art.
An interesting interpretive note states that this was a sacred area to come to offer a child’s umbilical cord. Many of the indentations in the basalt were carved hollows (pukas), created just for this purpose, where a newborn’s umbilical cord (piko) was placed to bless the baby with a long and prosperous life. There were hundreds of those (lots of babies!).
It was an extreme heat day and I really felt it on the way back to the car. Phew! How could the ancient Hawaiians manage in these conditions? On all that sun-absorbing black basalt? I left wondering how many other petroglyphs—and native Hawaiians, for that matter—might be buried under these successive layers of lava flows.
(3″ x 3.5″ pen & watercolor pencil on moleskine® sketch paper)
Displayed artwork © 2015 Kim Reading. All rights reserved.