False Alarms and the Silence of Leisure Spaces

The silence of nature is very real...

In early January, my husband and I spent a glorious week in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Silence of Leisure Spaces

We spent several days exploring the nearby beaches and waterfalls just enjoying the sounds of nature.

Hilo Surfers

We sat and ate our lunch in silence and simply enjoyed the show the surfers and boogie-boarders put on.

To sit in silence at the shore, watch the waves and hear the surf, is to appreciate the very breath and heartbeat of the earth. – Doe Zantamata

A look at a spot near Rainbow Falls. We did a lot of walking to various locations, taking in the “noises” of leisure.

leisure is a form of silence contemplated in the form of a waterfall

“Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a divine mystery, or a waterfall.” – Fulton J Sheen

Our first night we were greeted by the sublime and not-so-silent sounds of Coqui tree frogs whistling through the night. Here is a short YouTube clip of their sound. The Coqui frogs are an invasive species on the Big Island and many folks are irritated at their nocturnal noise. Strangely, we could sleep to their sweet serenade.


Though we had a TV in our room, we chose to play Hawaiian music on our Spotify app. Imagine no news, politics or ridiculousness for 6 days!

A Not-So-Silent Alarm

Many readers have asked me if we were in Hawaii when the false missile alarm sounded. Yes, we were. We were heading to breakfast in Hilo before we drove to Kona to catch our flight back to San Diego.

The alarm burst through on millions of mobile phones ending in deadly silence as shocked people read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Umm, we’re on an island, how do we take shelter?

I had left my purse and phone in the car to run back to our room at the B&B and didn’t hear the first alarm. My hubby looked at me oddly and said “Something’s happening. I’m afraid to tell you…it’s on your phone.” I looked at the alert, feeling strangely detached and simply said, “it’s bullsh*t!” I immediately googled “missile threat Hawaii” and nothing came up, convincing me that this was fake.

All I could think about was, we’re flying off this island in 6 hours, and what’s for breakfast? We went to one restaurant which abruptly closed due to the missile. That was aggravating. You might as well go into eternity on a full stomach.

Not to be deterred, we drove further down the street to Ken’s House of Pancakes for their specialty macadamia nut pancakes. My hubby asked the waitress for the “Missile Special” and she howled with laughter! Looking around the place, most of the diners didn’t seem upset or worried that their lives were about to end.

As we waited for our orders, the silence was broken again as the klaxon alarm blared once more on everyone’s phones. This time telling us it was a false alarm. Almost in unison, diners looked at their phones, put them down and continued eating.

Talk about “no worries” mentality!

My bucket list item of visiting the Big Island for the first time with my husband was not going to end with us kicking the actual bucket that day. We enjoyed our breakfast and drove over to the Kona side and went on with the rest of our day.

Do you enjoy the silence that nature or leisure can offer to you?

Silence is the theme for the WordPress Weekly photo challenge.

Mahalo for reading!

Tiki signature

61 thoughts on “False Alarms and the Silence of Leisure Spaces

  1. Terri, those are beautiful photos, and your perspectives reflect the quiet souls of the Hawaiian people! They don’t get too riled up about anything. Tee Hee – “might as well go into eternity on a full stomach!” I LOVE your attitude! Hawaii seems to have been good to you! ~ Lynn

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am so glad you posted about this because I was wondering what it would have been like to be on vacation in Hawaii when it happened. I told my husband- if we had been there- we would have headed to the bar. Breakfast…a cocktail…works for me before the big light comes! Glad you had a wonderful vacation

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My Bullshit Monitor is normally on pretty high alert so I would have been with you looking for a good place to get some breakfast… and what could you do even if it was correct? Interesting that some business decided to close. On another note, I remember those frogs! Listening to that Youtube recording brought back some memories. Such a racket from a tiny frog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Janis, I know you are a slight skeptic like me. Aren’t the coquis delightful? I had to resort to the you tube video because I couldn’t get a photo of the little critters. Loud indeed! I played the video for Hans from my blog and his jaw dropped. LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. I never would have guessed that your “silence” post would include a ballistic missile threat 😨 and that the mood remained so calm… but it looks like the alert isn’t so effective. This is a very special post, Terri.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, that’s actually pretty scary… I didn’t even realise Hawai was subjected to a missile threat, but then I guess I live in England, so that news didn’t make it over. On another note, I love that you’ve got the frog recording in there – listening to the sound is very transporting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was hoping you would write about your experience. You handled it beautifully, Terri! I don’t know what I would have done. But I do have an image of myself curled up in a corner somewhere whimpering as opposed to seeking macadamia pancakes. Which is a crying shame because I LOVE anything with macadamia nuts in them and don’t like to miss a meal. So glad this was a false alarm and you had a fantastic trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a horrible way to have your peaceful silence interrupted. Makes ya think though. On a happier note, I am delighted that you found your way to Hilo. Definitely one of my favorite places on the face of the earth. Plan is to sail back there by 2020. We’ve got many friends there and it is most certainly paradise. More affordable than other places in Hawaii. And what I would give for another bite at Ken’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so glad you had a good time on the Big Island, Terri. Like many of your other friends, I was wondering whether you were still there during the false alarm or whether you had just left. I love the mentality and reaction you described. It’s nothing at all like what the media made us believe here on the east coast. Based on footage, all the islanders panicked and ran for non-existing shelter! But, back to the WordPress theme: I love silence. The only thing that can trump it are the sounds of nature, whether from water or other sources (except buzzing mosquitoes).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What an extraordinary vacation, Terri. Going from “no news, politics, or tv” for a full week … to a ‘Ballistic Missile Threat’ must have been quite the experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m impressed that you were there to experience that alert, Terri – and that you took it in your stride, although it must have been terrifying. Love your images, and it sounds like a wonderful vacation. I’m glad you were finally able to enjoy some breakfast. x

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nice photos Terri. I saw an image of the Hawaii emergency services screen and it was just a list of links. I mean, what are the chances of accidentally clicking on the wrong link? Who’s ever done that? Very Hawaii. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. You definitely were tuned in to the collective unconscious, Terri! Seems many others were as well. I love the serenade of the Coqui tree frogs. Are you familiar with Machu Picchu Impressions by Rusty Crutcher? It’s a wonderful CD to fall asleep by. So soothing. It seems a lot of people are afraid of silence ~ afraid to breach the unknown. I love sitting or walking in silence in nature. As always, your photographs are exquisite ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Terry, I LOVE your reaction toward to false alarm. LOL. You got the time for Googling when everyone was in panic mood. Actually it was a very smart move. I learned something from your story. 🙂 and also, I’m glad you had a terrific time in Hilo. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. To answer your question, I enjoy silence, nature, and leisure. In fact now that I am retired, those seem to be a focus in my life! I am glad it was a false alarm. I did not know about it for a couple of days. Glad you and your husband ended this delightful trip safely.

    Around the same time we had a meteor explode near our town. (I live in SE Michigan). Even though it exploded about 50 miles away, we heard a big boom and it shook our house. Fortunately, I have not heard of any injuries. I was hoping to find a meteor rock in my yard after the snow melts, but it was really too far to get a gem like that. I wish I could have seen it. I hear it was quite a sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What an incredible experience you had – your hubby has a great sense of humor. The photos, as usual, are spectacular. Listening to silence and listening to the voices of others is a big part of my focus these days. I talk too much, too loudly, and have found that my silence amplifies the sounds of the rest of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow Terri, if that scary alarm were to happen, I’d want to be with you – the calming voice of reason. So glad it was false and you soldiered on and still got breakfast! I think the pitch of that frog’s voice would drive me batty. LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I love the “silence” of nature, though as you pointed out, it’s not necessarily silence, but just an absence of the usual noise. I found your story of the false alarm very interesting, but I especially loved your statement that you may as well go into eternity on a full stomach. I can relate. Nothing gets between me and a meal! I’m glad you enjoyed your trip.

    ~Christie

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You handled that missile alert so well, Terri. I don’t think I would have been as calm as you, but I’m glad to read that not everywhere on the island closed for business during that alert. What a way to end a vacation. Glad to see that hubby also still had his sense of humour when ordering the ‘missile special.’ Not one to forget, but more so because you’ve marked something off your bucket list. Welcome home.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Your photos are beautiful and the quotes draw me in as always. Glad you had a nice time. Looked so relaxing, well aside from the alarm. From the news it wasn’t too funny, but you are right Que sera sera…. PS. How is the student you were telling me about prior to your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

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