Several thoughts arose as I walked around the unusual landscape at Lava Tree State Park in Hawaii. First, I noticed the physical characteristics of the geologic formations. They reminded me of standing stones in the British Isles or Chinese scholar stones, hey are cocoons, sarcophagi, rotting trunks.
I tried to imagine the event that formed this landscape as I sketched. Once upon a time a river of lava flowed very fast through a forest and then quickly drained away to the sea. The trees, wet, must have steamed and created explosions as they were consumed by the deluge. They held just enough moisture to cool a thin layer of lava, leaving behind encasements once the flow receded.
These lava casts preserve the impression of the trees far loger that the trees normal lifespan. It is ironic that the same event that destroyed the trees, preserved their memory.