Visiting friends recently returned to winter on the Mainland, where this time of year provides snow, sleet and icy roads.
Their visit was welcome, but their departure too, had its benefits.
With visitors around the place, mornings are a great deal of preparing coffee, tea and toast for a crowd. And giving tips for the day’s activities. And trying to explain to temperate zone dwellers that the Island environment is anything but monotonous.
One recent day, once the great drought of 2012 had ended, a day without morning rain seemed a special gift.
I walked onto the lawn in the early morning, feeling the warmth of the dawning sun, and moments of chill as I stepped through the shadows.
A gleaming, ridged red Surinam cherry burst its sweet-tart flavor into my mouth. Mannikins and meijiro flitted through the greenery and thrushes called from the bushes.
Bees buzzed from my hives, off to a day’s work.
“Morning, girls,” I said as they headed off in search of nectar, pollen and propolis.
The honeybee’s flights to find flowers are long at this time of year and the honey flow is low. But macadamias are starting to bloom, and many other species will soon follow, so the bees will be back to short, productive flights soon enough.
Chickens scratched leaves in the underbrush. Zebra doves lifted off as I walked near them, prompting the chickens to squawk and run.
The winter rains had filled in a lawn that two months ago was dry and sparse.
There was a blue sky with small, white clouds traveling to the southwest. The winds, after a couple of days of kona weather, were shifting to strong trades. African tulip canopies shifted uneasily, flashing their red-orange blooms. Bamboo swept across the sky, leaning far one way and then recovering to sweep again on the following gust.
I felt like moving with them, and called on my karate training. After quietly reciting the Dojo Kun—the five commandments of Shotokan—I dug my toes into the sod and stepped through a dozen kata, feeling the sweat rise on my shoulders. Bassai Dai, Tekki, Jitte, and finishing with the breathing kata, Hangetsu.
Done, I stood a moment in meditation.
The twisting and turning had torn up some of the grass. I replaced my divots, as a golfer might, and walked on.
The gusty wind knocked a few mature coconuts loose, and they landed with thuds, percussion against the background whishing and tapping of the moving fronds.
The Java plum, at the end of its fruiting cycle, was still dropping purple cherries, staining my bare feet as I walked.
These are the mornings of the Islands in winter.
And to those who complain they miss the Mainland’s seasons, I can only suggest they’re not paying attention.
The broad intra-annual cycles of nature are as evident in the Islands as anywhere.