By Virginia Beck

The Mindanao gum tree, also known as rainbow eucalyptus, has a unique multi-hued bark. Patches of outer bark shed at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures, developing blue, purple, orange and maroon tones. The tree hugged by Halli Holmgren is part of a small forest up at Wailua Arboretum.

Kaua‘i is noted for its rainbows, almost as much as its famous Na Pali Cliffs, Wai‘ale‘ale Crater and the Waimea Canyon. There are few places that outshine our rainbow parades. While the chickens at Walmart are a comic nuisance, our rainbows are the jewelry of the sky.

The magic of the island sparkles even on cloudy days as arcs of brilliant color span the sky, and touch down on the ocean, or a happy pair of newly weds. A forever moment is highlighted by the heavens, and leaves a blessing. Sometimes, it is bright enough to generate a double rainbow. Only when it persists for a while, you will notice the colors are reversed on the outer rainbow.

Around the world, rainbows have been a symbol of the connections between Heaven and Earth, whether a bridge for lovers to cross in Japan, a place where Greek goddess Iris brings messages from heaven to humans; or Anuenue, the rainbow girl, of Hawaiian mythology, who brought messages for her brothers, the gods Kane and Kanaloa.

Christians believe the rainbow is the sign of God’s grace and a promise he will not destroy humanity. Rainbows float miraculously over our busy days.

From ancient Navajo to the Norsemen of Scandinavia, the rainbow was an important bridge between Earth and Heaven. From Earth to the miracle worlds or life in the hereafter, Kaua‘i invites us to re-examine our beliefs and thoughts about our lives and each other. Rainbows wake us up from the humdrum of everyday sameness.

The Cherokee believed the rainbow was the colored border of the sun’s coat. Sumerian, Chinese, Maori, all believed that the rainbow was evidence that the world is more spiritual and powerful than our daily live reveals. Australian tribal peoples believed the Rainbow Serpent was the creator of the world and the creatures that live on it.

Even in our hectic times, a rainbow cheers us and seems to tell us there is so much more to life than whatever stressful event we are dealing with. Rainbows show us the way to the bigger picture.

And Kaua‘i has enough pop-up showers to generate rainbows nearly every day.

Our climate is generally pleasant, maintained that way by our tradewinds. The fragrant breezes that greet you when step out of the plane, are the same breezes that ease the heat. They often bring rain that nourishes our lush landscape and streams flowing over waterfalls.

And our rainbows! They form so often, our island could be called the Rainbow Island.

Larry Rivera, a famous island guitarist and singer, entertained many for more than 50 years at the historic Coco Palms Hotel. A noted composer in island music history, many of his songs have been sung by artists, such as the late legend Iz Kamakawiwo‘ole , who recorded “Kamalani” with the Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau.

Rivera composed many Hawaiian love songs, and the wedding traditions of Coco Palms included his music and songs. One favorite, “Beautiful Kaua‘i,” which starts with the memorable words, “Where I live, there are rainbows,” quickly became the cherished memory of honeymoons, anniversaries and romantic vacations.

When the Coco Palms is rebuilt, Rivera’s songs and aloha will flow there again. Until then, he still sings for weddings on his restored canoe. He also sings at Café Portofino in Kalapaki Bay and at the Garden Island Grille in Koloa. Still spreading music and aloha at 87 years old.

  • Virginia Beck, NP and Certified Trager® Practitioner, offers Wellness Consultation, Trager Psychophysical Integration and teaches Malama Birth Training classes. She can be reached at 635-5618.