As we descend down the trail, the view of Pololu does not get any less spectacular. Cliffs jut out along the Pacific out into the distance, just to the edge of human perception. Waterfalls, like tiny vertical white lines, cascade down the farthest cliff, but they look static and unreachable from the trail.
We curve around, dodging rocks until we hit bottom, to be met with two equally magnificent and utterly different landscapes. On our left, the ocean crashes against a beach with black sand, which looks more like dust, lining the shore with gray and crimson rocks. A light breeze carries the distinct smell of the sea. On the right is a view as impressive but more unexpected, hills covered with verdant trees and a lush yellow valley below. Brown brackish water, mixing with dirt from the woods, forms a stream, connecting these two landscapes, flowing into the roaring waves that smash against the cliffs, rough and powerful, from the valley, picturesque and serene.
How these two disparate sights can be so near is a wonder of this island, and I cannot help but conceive them as the dichotomy of nature: its indestructible power and might—its ultimate dominance over us—and the peacefulness it can bring at the same time. These two elements of nature, seemingly in utter opposition, like the calm after a heavy rain when a rainbow reaches the sky, and the wild storm itself, are, in fact, the two sides of nature that we must not forget in our ever more separate worlds: that if we fight nature, it will win, but if we left it be, it will provide us the solace we seek.