Here it is — “7/11” — a traditionally “lucky” set of numbers pairing up on this calendar day. As summer unfolds, leaving June’s “Flag Day” and July’s “Fourth” in the past, we’ve reached the tipping point of over half the year. Still, we’ve time before the warm, humid season segues into school days, the County Fair, the autumn equinox, Halloween, and winter-time whales and waves to enjoy these “over the top” days. How nice to lick up and enjoy every bit of our free time spent with family and friends, or vacationing, to savor even as it’s slowly, surely melting down the cone of summer.
Our kids capture the magic in their art, which reveals the special windows through which they view and enlarge upon their experiences and subject matter. We just took another look at sixth-grader Tori Refamonte’s rainbow-Jello birds with sea life when we turned the leaf of this year’s Kauai Island Utility Company’s calendar from June, then smiled upon July’s orchid and buds by seventh-grader Cyndi Fernandez. Both students are involved with many others in the “ten thousand hands studio” creativity project through their schools — St. Catherine’s and Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School for Tori and Cyndi, respectively.
There are many days left to spend in the warm and languid water, floating and snorkeling to enjoy views of fishes underwater, if not quite as Tori depicts them (just be sure the place is deemed safe). As to the orchids, after good rain everything is blooming. The County Fair mentioned earlier always features a display area of specialized orchids of all colors of the rainbow, as well as numerous and varied delights. The summer’s end event presents terrific opportunities for people watching and meeting (“PW&M”) for all ages. But, back to birds, it’s not far-fetched (as Tori expressed) to depict them underwater.
We relearned that in between showers on a recent rainy day, watching boobies and tropicbirds dive underwater to fish off Kilauea Point. Our United Airlines world-hopping niece, here on a quickie visit before National Guard training on Oahu, was reintroduced to the magic of Kilauea Point’s birds and sea creatures. She shot many photos while enjoying the surroundings, was lucky enough to capture a stunning iwa lazing on the updrafts against a far, hazy sun.
As many times as we visit this craggy and popular U.S. Fish & Wildlife protected North Shore area on our own or when taking visiting family members and friends along, our moments there, watching, never fail to be mesmerizing. This particular day, we enjoyed seeing red-tailed tropicbirds perform their backwards-stall aerial ballet and a pod of spinner dolphins dance between the point and Secret Beach. We chuckled at the “goony bird” run and take-off of a young albatross. A ranger told us that it would be three years before that albatross returned to his home shore. The ranger, a volunteer, was to start banding birds the next day, describing the process as well as other avian behaviors.
Some interesting feedback in the way of affirmations from readers came to me after the June 27 “Green Flash” — such a relief not to be pelted with lilikoi and mountain apples or have someone name their dog for me!
There’s a trunkful of stories of magical moments on Kauai which I’ve barely touched: When the first, perfumed rose-and-gold plumeria opens after months of bare branches; when cardinals decide to build a home nest in my husband’s bonsai banyan; when monarchs take over the crownflower plants as a nursery for their jewel-like chrysalises; when acquaintances or complete strangers unexpectedly give kind help or intuitive advice; when love guides and family members forgive — and forget — a quick tongue or sin of omission; when “the better self” guides and members of our electorate on whom we depend make choices that lead to better governance for the people rather than self-aggrandizement — yes, Gross National Happiness (Gross Island Happiness?) over Gross National Product.
Then there are the whale stories. Here, briefly, a few that have been told me by friends: When you just happen to glance seaward while driving and your eye zeroes in on a fully-breaching whale — not just on one occasion, but several; when you’re out fishing, focused on hooking up with a nice ahi or koshibi — not whale watching — and a whale suddenly emerges to swim alongside the boat, its eye upon you; when you’ve asked for direction in severing employment and striking out into the unknown, a hard decision, and a leviathan breaches offshore — not once, but twice, accompanied by enormous slaps and displacement of water.
What are the chances of two Nene geese rising to fly together, the sound of their flapping wings in tandem punctuating the minister’s interment ceremony for a beloved husband and friend high over Kalapaki Bay — just at the moment when continuing nearness of spirit is offered, solace to the grief-stricken wife? For that matter, what’s the likelihood of falling in love with someone who owns the Gamefisher model that was stolen from you, but with no motor, while you still own the motor but no boat?
At column’s end, I have yet to touch upon the “flying saucer” and Madame Pele chronicles on this Garden Island, nor the continuing “magical” voyage of Hokulea …
“Thirst drove me down to the water
where I drank the moon’s reflection.”
Dawn Fraser Kawahara, author and poet, made her home on Kauai over 30 years ago. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live quietly with books, music and birds in Wailua Homesteads. The writer’s books may be found in local outlets and on Amazon, or write for information to firstname.lastname@example.org.