Her Pride

By , Lincoln, NE
Beep, beep, beep! The monotone beat of Kanani’s alarm clock pulsed against her screaming temples. With each piercing jolt, a layer of heavy darkness peeled away from her groggy mind until she could again sense the snug bed underneath. Groaning, she rolled over, layers of downy blankets bunching beneath her. Scowling at her clock, she reached across her pillows and flicked it off, with an audible tick. Sighing, she sat up and glanced at the time, 3:30 am stared boldly back at her. Kanani slipped glasses over her large brown eyes, as she flipped her matching hair into a quick ponytail. Shuffling to her closet, she retrieved a pair of thick black pants, donned her fur-lined boots and yanked a navy blue sweatshirt over her head, with “Wailea, Maui, Hawaii Surf” printed in white, down the sleeve. Yawning, Kanani located her mittens, flowered stocking cap and keys in the dark while making her way down the hall and into the kitchen. She snatched a sticky jelly roll from the counter and patted her dog’s sleeping head, then hurried outside. As Kanani stepped out into the fresh air of an early Maui morning, she beamed as the warm air hugged her body. Aloha kakahiaka Hawai’i, she thought, greeting the morning around her. Ducking into the driver’s side of her gray Ford Focus, she drove down the deserted street.

An hour later, Kanani maneuvered into a parking stall and released the key from the ignition. Jumping from her car, she scampered up a long flight of pebbled steps until she reached a four-walled glass enclosure. She wrapped herself tight in a fleece blanket she had brought; she plopped down in front of the observatory and gazed at the view. Every morning Kanani could remember, either with friends or family, she had awoke and made the tedious journey to the crater of Mt. Haleakala to view the sunrise. Today was no different. Passing first through Wailea, then farmhouses, thickly wooded forest, and bare, rocky terrain, she had climbed the winding road to the summit of a dormant volcano, 10,000 feet above sea level. It was still about an hour before sunrise, but for Kanani, the show had already begun.

A vast bank of light cotton ball clouds stretched out as far as Kanani could see, black tips of neighboring mountains breaking through the surface. To her right, a white fluffy fog rolled into the stony crater below. The faintest hint of blue was beginning to appear on the horizon of clouds, even though the moon still smiled down brightly. A determined bitter wind swirled around Kanani, nipping her ear tips. Every minute, the sky changed ever so slightly. Traces of red-orange, pink, and finally yellow blurred above the clouds, pushing away the darkness. Tourists began to arrive, filling Kanani’s reverie with chatter of the cold and the click of cameras. They huddled inside the observation outlook at Kanani’s back, not braving the chill and breeze that she was so used to. Locking her eyes on the spectacle, Kanani watched as the first sliver of fiery yellow sun peered over the floating sea of clouds. Inch by inch, the sun rose, sending rays of crystal clear sunshine over the crests of mountains and clouds below. Finally victorious, the sun leapt from its capture and into the now blue and yellow sky.

Sunlight streamed over the clouds, revealing details on the mountainsides and onto Kanani’s tan face, warming her. The rush of “ooh, ahhs” from the sightseers made her smile and heart fill. She was proud to live on an island where people would travel from all over the world to see a sunrise she saw daily. Although Kanani visited the mountain every morning to observe the dawn, its majestic beauty still fathomed her, preparing her mood for the day. For some people, coffee is what gets them out of bed in the morning, but for Kanani, it is watching the sunrise atop Haleakala.





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