Monday, April 14, 2008

In the Heart of a Kauai Winter

by Sharon Douglas

A symphony of bird song celebrates the clear, blue, what will become an 80-something-sunny day. Doves coo. The white and black shama thrush click, and sing their complex little songs. Red cardinals sound like melodious cars starting their singing engines. A rooster, or two, or three … punctuate the cacophony with a “How do you do?”

Green lushness, on closer inspection reveals a color splotched canvas: Papaya trees laden with sunrise papayas; yellow edged palm fronds form green splayed fans; hand shaped hau leaves on tangled trees with flowers that change from yellow to a red-orange when they drop; ti leaves splattered in intense yellow or pink blotches; and pink and white tipped snowbush. Splotches of color-on-green.

Drive down to the west side and see light green breadfruit footballs growing in trees, protected by waxy dark green leaves. Or see tall, tassleless sugarcane grass swaying gently as it still grows.

Even more vivid are the intense egg yolk scrambled flowers etched high against blue sky on the yellow shower trees. There’s the one near the Koloa fire-station, and then there are a few as you head out of Waimea Town. This yellow scramble of color, high up and, then, lower down, the yellow hibiscus smile brightly. Or there are the cup of gold vines that compete with the intense cerise and purple and hot pink bougainvillea.

There are also the African tulip trees with their vividly orange cup-like blooms. These are profuse and their abundant color can be seen almost everywhere on Kauai.

And, should you head up to Holy Cross Church from the west side into Kalaheo: the flaming Mexican vine, ablaze in orange as it drips off, garlanding green shrubs and trees in the valley to the south.

At sunset, a bikini clad walk, on Kekaha’s long wide soft champagne colored beaches can be enjoyed. Shawl of water fringed by waves lapping onto silky shores leads to foamy feast fondling naked feet.

The sound of the ocean: huhwash! and silence… Gahwash! Sh…sh and silence is the background music, as the watermelon-gold sun-orb drops behind the Forbidden Island, Niihau, huge whale-like silhouette, and slowly withdraws its energy in long rays that trail across the now pearly gray-mauve ocean.