A Different Plane of Existence

“Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater.”

--Mark Twain

“Man, this view almost makes up for the Cats going 1 and 2.” High above the palm trees and sandy beaches at the pinnacle of the Haleakala Volcano [holly-AWK-uh-luh] (

Sorry, old radio news writing habits die hard

), I was decompressing from the 10-thousand foot switchback journey up.

“Not really.” We’re above the clouds, looking down on rainbows and she’s leaning over cliffs, trying to capture it

on film.

through digital photography.

“Guess not.” I pondered. “It’s a different plane of existence.”

The respite to Hawaii was my idea. K-State men’s basketball in the Maui Invitational was the hook to convince her to spend Thanksgiving away from her family. The woman bleeds purple and will, we have now proven, follow her beloved Cats to the ends of the Earth.

Jackie. Somewhere over the rainbow.

Or at least to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The road to the top of the volcano was hairy, even by flatlander standards. Half-ass guardrails, road snaking precipitously uphill. Upcountry, the locals call it on Maui. The sphincter puckered up a bit when we passed a road sign reading, “Turn on lights in clouds.”

I must have missed that sign on the drive between MHK and Doodah. 


bove the tree line, nothing but lava rocks. Lava rock craters bigger than the island of Manhattan (the one in New York). Lava rock cliffs so sheer they put up 'watch that first step or you will surely die'

warning signs.

Y’see, I have this thing about heights.

The Highway to Hana (HAH-nuh) we took the very next day was different and worse. If the road to the volcano was the shortest distance, bottom to top, the Highway to Hana was the shortest route


the northeast coast of the island.

Two lanes with 5-mile per hour 180-degree hairpins. Still high


up, that one wrong move and my purple-blooded wife, our 2014 Jeep Compass rental and Puckered Sphincter Boy would plummet Earthward.

In a big damn hurry.

Toward waves crashing into the jagged rocks.

And it was raining. (WTF did I expect? It’s a tropical rain forest...)

It’s not the end result that scares me. I believe if I do the right thing in this life, my consciousness will continue. In a different plane of existence. Life everlasting. The mystery of faith. I’m not supposed to know why or how. Just believe.

It’s the last few seconds immediately preceding my death as I plummet from a high place that freak me out.

Like from a quiet but

still active

volcano. Or plunging the rental into the drink.

I am taking steps, mind you, to conquer, or at least, manage, (

seems like a lotta comma's

) the acrophobia. I mean a lesser man woulda stayed on terra firma and not even ventured up... or around... the volcano, right?

Which reminded me of the Twain quote above. If my right conduct today will get me where I want to go after dying, laws don’t really matter.

Even the law of gravity.