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When I first visited the Big Island in the seventies, I had no idea that one day I'd choose to live in the Puna District, the lawless ends of the earth, known for its rough, wild-west style, pot-growing culture.

Today the very qualities that made it seem unlivable give the area its particular charm. A one-and-a-half lane road winds for miles along an undeveloped coastline where shellfish-pickers and fishermen ply the black rock cliffs, and local families bathe in tide pools. Native ohia, hala, lama and kamani trees bend over the road along with big monkey-pod, guava, and mango trees over-grown with passion fruit vines. In late afternoon the sun casts an elegiac golden light through tree canopies and drifting ocean-spray, and residents and visitors alike thank our stars for allowing us to be in this paradise. The nostalgic glow draws me out day after day to stand with easel and paints, attempting to record its beauty.

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