LIFE ON THE ISLAND
06/10/02 Bird Talk|
Last week while I was waiting for a friend on the north shore, I decided to go to Anini Beach. I am a woodcarver of sorts, so when I saw an interesting piece of driftwood, I got a knife from the car, sat on the sand and started to carve the wood.
There were four cardinal birds watching me, mistaking the chips flying from the wood for something to eat. Two had black and gray wings, white bellies and red heads. The other two were almost the same but with a tuft of reddish brown feathers on the top of their head standing straight up (kind of like a punk rocker).
The birds started chirping (talking) to me. I started talking back to them as if they were my cats. I was telling them that I didn't have any food but would bring some bread the next time I came to the beach. I told them how pretty they were, politely allowing them to answer in their own way. When each of them stopped chirping I would talk for a while. They were listening to me with their heads cocked to one side and didn't interrupt me as long as I was talking, but one at a time, they would start chirping as soon as I stopped -- it was a very polite conversation!
We (all 5 of us) talked for several minutes, with the birds hopping a little closer and closer to me. (They had long before discovered I didn't have anything to eat.) After a while all four of them hopped on my legs, two redheads on one thigh and the two brown-heads on the other. We kept talking for the next 5 minutes.
But it was time for me to go, so I carefully got up and told them I enjoyed being with them, walked to my car and got in. Three birds flew on the hood of my car with one looking through the windshield at me just beyond the steering wheel, beak against glass, while the fourth bird was on the side mirror just outside the window and they were still talking to me.
I warned them that the car would make lots of noise, said goodbye and started the car. They flew away.
I still get a warm but strange feeling when I remember them. I felt like
Dr. Dolittle. Who says animals don't understand humans?
10/29/97 The Blu Hoe
My wife Helen, Jeanie, a friend of ours, and her son Billy and I hiked up near the blu hoe today. The blue hole is a pool at the eastern base of Mt.Wai'ali'ali. When it has been raining for a few days (and Mt. Wai'ali'ali gets 450 inches a year!), you can look straight up and see twenty 1000 ft waterfalls cascading down the cliffs. But it hadn't rained for a while, and we were still a couple of miles away from there when we reached the end of the trail: the last 2 miles involves wading through a stream and through lots of mud.
Anyway, we took Jeanie's 4x (with Billy driving thankfully: Jeanie
is a wild woman when she drives and the potholes seemed like they
would swallow us, 4by and all). I took the road 2 years ago in my
car (Nissan Sedan) but the dirt (mud) road is almost impassible now.
It rains 45 inches a year on the coast, at the mouth of the Wailua (compare that to Seattle - 60). The annual rainfall is 150 at the aboretum. The end of the jeep trail it is 200. The blu hoe is 300 and the the top of the mountain averages 450 -- the wettest spot on earth. Compare to Angel Falls, a 3,212 ft. waterfall on the Churuin R., in the Guiana Highlands, SE Venezuela -- 270 inches of rain a year. Or to some parts of the Bengal region of India with 320 a year.
We took a trail to the left of the main trail. It wound around a hill to a pool above a small waterfall and below some rapids. We went swimming, had lunch, and then dozed off in our own meditations (Billy went exploring). The trail is great with wild raspberries, moss 2-3 thick on old logs (Jeanie enjoyed pointing out faces in the moss), and a tropical rain forest feel.
On the way back to the car we saw a friend, Susan, with some friends
of ours from Europe. They had just arrived on the island and wanted
to take a hike. It's fun to meet travelers who come here on holiday.
I have a reserved personality, but people from Europe tend to take
long vacations so I get to know them -- just before they go back home.
It's fun to see them next year when they return.
12/15/97 -- The Night Rainbow|
Tonight for the first time in my life I saw a night rainbow. They are a tradition in Hawaii but not that common. A ring around the moon is different than a night rainbow -- it's caused by ice crystals and appears in the same direction as the light source. A night rainbow is a true rainbow caused by refraction off water drops with the light source behind you.
A rain shower had passed over and was up against the mountains. The
full moon was behind me raising up from the sea. The 'bow circled the
tops of the Makalea Mountains which are up the road from the town of Kapaa
where I live. The light was pale and ghostly while the colors were
there in their proper places -- just on the verge of eluding the eye.
12/11/97 -- Christmas Carols|
Today our ukelele class sang carols at a Christmas luncheon marking the 30th anniversary of the Kapaa Neighborhood Center. Ilima Rivera, our teacher, couldn't make it so she sent her father, Larry, to play with us.
Larry Rivera was THE entertainer on Kauai from 1954 until his retirement a few years back. He played at the Coco Palms for years and became a life-long friend of Elvis when the King showed up at the hotel to film Blue Hawaii. Larry's compositions flow with the natural beauty of his native Kauai. Many were were recorded by other artists, including Love and Aloha -- one of Bing Crosby's last hits.
It was fun -- Larry didn't know what we had practiced and since I was standing close to him he kept asking me what key we were going to use for each song. He was very easy to follow and he added his own special touches. The audience was thrilled . . . and so were we.
Now I can say, I used to play in a group with this guy that had a couple of his songs recorded by Elvis.