Look Up throughout 2020, Especially When Stopped by a Raging Fire

Look Up at Sunset Olowalu Beach, Maui, Hawaii

2020 has certainly been a game-changing year. It will go down in the history books for countless reasons. Both my personal journal and this blog are full of amazing, yet challenging 2020 stories. In fact, last night, I experienced another Look Up reminder.

Look Up Reminder – A Raging Fire

Olowalu bush fire on Maui, December 26, 2020.
As I wrote this ‘Best of 2020’ post from Honolua Bay on the West Side of Maui, I had no idea that the best Look Up Reminder was yet to come. On our way back to our home in Wailuku, we passed Lahaina for sunset and continued on to our local beach, Olowalu, featured at the beginning of this post. We noticed a dark smoke ahead. As we drove closer to the smoke, the road was covered in falling coconuts and branches from up to fifty miles per hour winds. Within moments, we saw the Olowalu hills ablaze with a bush fire powered by dry kiawe trees (mesquite) and the almost hurricane gust winds.

To Continue or Turn Around

We progressed a few minutes more to see the emergency vehicles accessing the situation, but not stopping traffic. We followed a large Tacoma truck a bit farther, but the smoke and flames were thick. We slowed to stop, but the truck didn’t. It disappeared behind a wall of smoke.  Immediately, the flames began to cross in front of our van from the mountainside (mauka) of the road to the ocean side (makai) of road. It was time to u-turn and get out of Dodge (aka Olowalu). Our plan was to head around the backside of the West side of the island to get home. Our thoughts were with that driver and others that ventured before.

Plan B

After driving yet another hour out of harm’s way, we were stopped by another cop. The Westside route was closed due to downed power lines. It turned out that all over Maui there were three major roads closed due to downed powerlines because of the intense post-holiday winds. So, we had no other recourse than to pull off and wait it out. By this time, we were back to the Honolua Bay where I started writing this post. We were safe and sound. It was a Look Up Moment for sure.

The Runners Up for ‘Best of 2020 Look Up Reminders’

Look Up from the Boundary Waters of Minnesota

In case you missed these Look Up stories, here’s a recap!

Click on each and leave a comment!

Look Up from a Tent in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota

Look Up It’s Snowing in Joshua Tree

Finding the Upside During Quarantine

Look Up from Quarantine to Sun Gate of Maui 

Looking Up in 2021 and Beyond

Look Up at Sunrise at Hamoa Beach, Road to Hana, Maui.

There is no doubt that our future selves will be asked by our children, grandchildren, and others about our personal 2020 stories. How will you answer these?

  • Where were you in 2020?


  • Did you get COVID or know someone who did?


  • What were your challenges of 2020?


  • How do you live differently because of 2020?


As our lives adapt to a new normal and get busy again, I encourage you to remember the lessons from 2020.  Regardless of what the year or where you are in the world, be warned. When faced with a raging fire/hurricane/pandemic/or another natural or man-made disaster, get out of Dodge, find shelter, and Look Up.
Here’s to looking up!


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