Lounging in Kapaa — that’s Kapa’a, Kauai

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To what will I listen? How about the long and throaty call in the distance? Or, the high pitched, rapid chirps nearby? Or the rustle of the leaves in the intermittent but unending gusts of wind? I sit on a bamboo chair on the second floor balcony-porch of our Air BnB. It’s on the upside of a ravine, so that I can see into trees from two sides of my perch. Some seem my height and some are far below. The magnificent avocado tree’s regal clothing meets my eyes—its trunk descending some thirty steps below, and its limbs go on up and up past the roof of my perch. Its large leaves are shaded a green tinged with black, a green unlike its unripe fruit that hangs on its drooping and limber branches. The green of the avocado tree’s leaves match the ready-to-eat avocado our host gave us as a breakfast side–a dark richness as of coffee.

As I eat, I look down on the amazingly long leaves of the banana tree, its trunk planted some twenty feet down the hill from the avocado. The leaves fold and lean over, as if to bow down before the king riding in, each leaf wearing a wonderfully long and regular fringe like some Hawaiian girls fringed skirts or more imaginatively, IMG_1415like some obsessive and talented preschooler, who was exhibiting early his destiny in art and installations, had taken his scissors to each palm leaf (leaves as long as my body) and cut through one green leaf,  and then another and another until sun is setting and he must sleep. The early morning light shines behind the uprising grove below me, through the bending, swaying branches, and illuminates a sea I know is blue but yet looks grayish in the fierce light of morn. Oh, the green of its gargantuan variety—the multitudinous greens and shapes of leaves—from huge hearts to perfect oblongs that narrow to a point—from fern-like, lacy leaves to the tiny ovals on narrow-bowed branches. The birds too, and their calls are of such variety they seem almost disjointed—quacking or crowing, bugling or bursting inchorus. It’s all yours, oh King—all singing and trumpeting beauty in a myriad of forms.

To think now that when I awakened to a chamber concert of the birds and the splendor of the sun rising over the ocean and clouds stretched on either side of long and narrow slit like a stretched out eye, that on my waking I wished for tissues and thought about writing on the Air Bnb site my complaint—”No kleenex in bathroom or bedroom.” Oh, how my mind flits and settles on such a sorry landing, grumbling about what is missing. How my anxious ears often listen to rustlings of ruin, when so much around me shouts glory, glory, glory.

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