White Rainbow over Mauna Loa


A white rainbow appears above Mauna Loa’s snowcapped summit, and I pause to savor its luminescent grandeur . . . and ponder its meaning in my life. In Hawaiian tradition, the white rainbow is a hoʻailona or auspicious sign. Far below, Halemaʻumaʻu’s gas plume is a steadfast reminder of the power of Kilauea’s molten lava lake.

Mauna Loa and Halema‘uma‘u crater are homes to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, and are wahikapu or sacred places. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984, sending lava flows to the outskirts of Hilo. In March 2008, after twenty-six years of quiet, the floor of Halema‘uma‘u ruptured as deep magma pushed its way toward the surface. With time, the gas conduit slowly widened, developing into a growing lava lake perched just below the crater’s floor.

Original painting size: 20in. × 10in.