Today, for the first time, I appreciate the wonder of botanical gardens. Someone created this one inside the Koko Crater. It starts at the edge of a tunnel formed by forty foot high blooming bougainvilleas that grow inside a 100,000 year old basalt basin. Their purple, cream yellow, and magenta flowers litter the ground while those still clinging io the bushes perfume the air. Friends warned us that temperatures inside the crater can reach 90 degrees but today’s trade winds moderate things for us. It carries the scent of flowers up through hibiscus grove (now full of plants setting seeds),and dying out as we reach the Americas cactus forest. There the golden light of late afternoon backlights the fibrous plants. I won’t describe the walk through Africa and Madagascar except to mention the long tailed laughing thrush, whose song lives up to it’s name, an intensive red northern cardinal, and other unseen birds that fill the air with sweet song.
Aki would love this wide field of grass that runs from a oceanside road to the green wall of volcanic rock rising vertically to the clouds. The gang of white egrets, spread with military precision across the plain, would have kept her near my feet. She is better off in Juneau with friends who are probably spoiling her with treats.
This windward side of Oahu is all lush green. From the beach we watch lines of breakers that start at an off shore reef and end in a crash just below the road. Behind is the grass plain and a Hawaiian family party. After setting up a series of canopies and a large bounce house of inflated plastic for the kids, they have settled in for an afternoon of eating, drinking beer, and telling story. A sign standing feet away from the adults paying horseshoes forbids almost all the activities occupying the family.
Earlier, while driving past the famous surfing beaches of the North Shore, we stopped at a pocket beach of sand to watch Hawaiian green turtles feeding on the moss that grows on offshore rocks. The rocks lay just offshore where the surf breaks so the turtles must tumble about in it as they eat. When sated they crawl onto the sand to digest dinner while the sand warms their undersides.