The state-wide post at 8:05 AM local time this past Saturday of an imminent nuclear attack on Hawaii from North Korea sent heart rates to the stratosphere. Two million residents and visitors were faced with death, within the next 20 minutes. I was there in Oahu on December 1st when government officials, to everyone’s surprise, first tested the nuclear strike alarm system.

I interviewed a couple getting off a plane from Maui this morning. They were there for the nuclear alarm two days ago, and happened to be surfing when the sirens started blaring. Being a few hundred yards offshore they could hear the sirens and watched the wave of panic take over the beach.

“It took a moment to realize what was happening,” Kristine said. “I looked at Josh on his board 10 feet away. Our eyes locked, not sure what to feel or do.  Maybe mixed feelings of helplessness and acceptance? If we were headed out, at least it was doing something we loved,” she added.

Kristine continued, “When we caught a wave to ride into shore I saw the panic but also the beauty of the ocean, trees and mountains in the background, thinking that it could all be gone soon.  My mind was pretty f**ked up at that moment.”

Kristine and the millions on the Hawaiian Islands on January 13th had a brush with personal extinction– a brush that reminds us that our lives here are very short and unpredictable indeed. We have but a blink of a cosmic eye to give our life purpose and achieve that which we yearn for. Her message for us? “Whatever your passion is, get on with it. It may not be yours to enjoy 20 minutes from now.”

 

When Kristine and her partner got onshore, news had gone out that the alarm was indeed false. “We were with surfers and it was pretty mellow, but you could tell nobody was going to be the same again.”