Hawaiian Hues

Oh Wowee-Zowee Maui and Kauai!  Three weeks of sun-kissed bliss on these tropic isles of sucre and spice – the Pacific’s proverbial Paradise. Of razzle-dazzle pinks and purples playing over the earth-bound greens of every jungle-jade shade. Of neck-straining spires impossibly sinuous and skyward, plummeting near 30,000 ft to the depths and darks of the ocean floor. Of shifting shores and azure-jeweled coasts, triUmphant with the symphony-sprays of Water meeting Rock. Countless-boundless crashing embraces atop the lava-jagged forms, the blacks to browns of an ancient volcanic drama: islands risen then drowned, but briefly crowned by Nature’s verdant renown – the constant gardener, the Cosmic Clown – to then lay back down Her weavings for new garments and gowns!  And what dress these isles possess! Afresh with thick-green birdsong and the sunburst flavours of their tropical diets. Fruits falling from the outstretched Dr. Seuss-limbs of Mango, Guava, Papaya, Java Berry and Dorian… a shake or two to catch them in our anxious arms, their sunset-colours mashing in our mouths – such gifts these trees give, such gravitas in their gravity! Biting into their pink-green galaxies, nebulous juices overflowing, their crunchy seed-stars awaiting the microcosm of the soil… To think of All the Places, Peoples, Processes on this Planet! A universe within a universe within a universe within a universe… a fabric of infinite intricacy, of preposterous possibility, of miracle and magic…

The first fortnight spent scouring the sights of Maui with two most excellent dudes – Knoll the Maui-raised rebel with a cause, and Shin the ever-chill connoisseur – my Big Two-Hearted River team (sans the onion sandwiches). The Road to Hana living up to all its expectations, the swerving shoulders ripe with jungle-gym lianas and African Tulip trees, the guava-greens of a thousand technicoloured variations plunging deep into chasms weightless with the water of their falls. Veils of white, horse-whisping-tails tickling the ferns and faerie mosses on its mist-moist ramble down down down to the white-surf shore and all around the hummm of paradise-birds with their calls warbled and winged. And the views up up Up the valley lines to the cloud-hidden summits of Haleakala – maiden and mother-mountain of Maui – her broad rim 10,000ft high amongst the winter winds and alpine airs! Impossibly transformed with every drop in its lofty height, from crater-shades of ochre and crimson, blood-red against the morning sun, to flanks of gold and emerald, the slow transition from upcountry to down – scrub and shrub of prickly pear, sedges and tall grass to the first of the hardy eucalyptus and koa. Then the stunted tropicals, palms and ferns reluctant in their frigid climb… and finally down to the wet and red-clay soils of the forest floor – terrra-cotta shades beneath the now heaven-high canopy dripping with the rains of its own devising, damp and dark beneath the jungle smells. Windward (North) for these wet and wild gardens of Shangri-La, leeward (South) for the dry and crisp savanna-like fields of thorned Kiawe and pasture (Rainshadow = No Mango). Oh what an array of biomes Maui flaunts, diverse as a trans-African foray – at 1/3rd the size of P.E.I.!

Banyan 2

Then the last week on my own in spell-binding Kauai… 5 sweeter-than-mango-incr(edible) days on the fabled Na Pali coast… followed by two lofty nights on the canyon rim…
Divine winds high in the Kalalau Peaks,
Turquoise surf, the bluff-lined seas.
Chirping crickets in the coffee trees
and the late-night bugs playing Hide and Seek.


Bright boondoggle rays, the silhouetted bay,
Axe-ridge canyons cutting deep into the sky.
The pounding ocean-hum alive with paradise-cry,
Knee-deep in jungle essence, green-papaya-saute!
The warmth and glow from our little-stick fires,
Barefoot foragers, pitter patter on the paths.
A gathering of stories, of music and laughs,
Sharing in something, our deepest human desire.
Underneath arching cliffs of cinnamons and browns,
Native birds aflitter in the old-growth Mango.
And below them all look at us bipeds Tango,
A hilarious gang of sexy primate clowns!
But my oh my, the sunrise-song of endemic avians!
Their paradise melodies winged like waterfalls,
Impossibly phosphorescent in their capes and calls:
The first songs learned by Homo Sapiens.

Yet more birds lost here than anywhere else on Earth –
an unprecedented rate in the past two centuries.
And with them the cultures keeping alive their memories.
Songs once sung, never again to be heard in this universe. 

“Death is one thing, an end to birth is something else”.
And all of us pilgrims on this path of 4 billion years,
Inseperable in design and desire – to Life we adhere.
But a sacred pact broken, and so too our health…
Paradise Lost (and found)!
For it remains in all of us, our endeavours and dreams,
to mend what we can of the fraying seams,
And do what we must to keep Moloch’s head uncrowned…

Kalalau Valley 6

music by the Real Ponchos:   http://therealponchos.bandcamp.com/