One of the things that is striking about the so-called Big Island of Hawaii is that it is the "youngest" of all of the Hawaiian islands. What that means is that it is only 500,000 years old. On a human scale, that is really old, of course. But compare that number with the age of the rocks in the Black Hills in my home state of South Dakota - geologists say that they are around 2 billion years old. On a human scale that's almost unimaginable.
But compare either the age of the Black Hills or that of Hawaii with the fact that the moss covered rocks you are looking at bubbled out of the depths of the earth in 1960. And a few miles from where I took this photo, you can walk on parts of the earth that were formed an hour ago. (The walk is imaginary given that the stones would melt your shoes.)
For me, the paradox of Hawaii is the lushness of so many parts of the island juxtaposed with the seeming bareness of places pictured here. But in the 55 years since the eruption that formed this ground, if you look closely, you will see that life is abundant. Give this area another half million years and watch out! It will be a jungle. Maybe.
Isn't it odd that the "maybe" in that last statement is up to us and the choices we make today about preserving our planet? What took billions of years to form might be destroyed by 200 years of human inattention.
Canon 5DIII 1/15s f/16.0 ISO200 100mm