My girlfriend and I stood in the parking lot at Punalu’u Beach on the big island of Hawaii, waiting for her sister to come back from the restroom. We had already been to the beach, a true black sand beach, crowded that day with tourists and locals. It was a windy, cloudy day, and the bay was crowded with whitecaps as waves drove into the beach. I waited by the car and watched a big tour bus navigate the crowded parking lot. To the right stood a few cabins of sorts, cobbled together from found objects and canvas. Stray dogs roamed around looking for scraps. I leaned back against the hood of the car and looked out, between the cabins to the right and the road to the left, and there was Mauna Loa peeking through the clouds. Palm trees whipped and whistled in the wind all around me, and the whole field of grass ahead lashed back and forth. Clouds raced across the sky, changing constantly. Mauna Loa just was. The calm immutable powerful presence in the midst of all that motion, this one truth of that mountain, hit me in the heart, in the gut. I knew I needed to remember all of this information about that place because I needed to paint that mountain.