By Virginia Beck

‘Ohi‘a lehua trees with Kalalau Valley on the background.

‘Ohi‘a lehua trees with Kalalau Valley on the background.

I mohala no ka lehua i ke ke‘ekehi ‘ia e ka ua.”

“The lehua blossom unfolds when the rains tread on it.”

— ‘Olēlo No’eau, Mary Kawena Pukui

The heavy rains of the past weeks are finally bringing relief to the parched vegetation and thirsty trees. Our very dry winter has been drenched away, as spring arrives. Trees that were wearing their leaves at half-mast, are now flourishing new growth and rain washed leaves.

The young leaves, or liko, send tiny buds that pierce the bark of the toughest trees. Fresh green sprouts emerge, ready for anything.

Many will be strung with flowers into fragrant leis, to be layered 10-deep on graduates later this month.

Memories which have slept in silence, awaken to the sound of rains drumming on rooftops, dripping from the eaves; as we celebrate what the rains will bring us. Huge surges of blossom on the layered albizia trees. Fragrant jasmine, macadamia nuts, stephanotis and pua kenikeni.

The mango trees are confused, ripening fruit, swelling daily; and now, another cycle of blossom coming all at once. The lychee will apparently explode with fruit, after the winds have tossed away the most fragile blossoms.

Jacaranda trees are throwing scented lavender blue blossoms on our driveway. This confetti prepares us for the carpet of blue that will happen in a few weeks.

Visitors may complain about the rain at first, but this is what feeds our land: our streams, and our waterfalls. The cascades in Koke‘e State Park will be spectacular. And Kaua‘i Museum is always a splendid indoor activity.

There is almost always another place to go. The Westside is often blazing sun, when clouds shade other parts of the island. At this time of year, the golden trumpet trees (tabebuia) in Waimea will soon be at their peak. It is worth the trip just to view these beauties.

All this richness is driving the green parakeets wild. These introduced birds travel wide territories searching for fruit. They can’t decide whether to stay and ravage the mangoes, green ones dropped by the wind; or go west for more luscious opportunities. They abandoned their usual morning commute to do return loops, searching for fruit.

Virginia Beck

Virginia Beck

Our farmers and the County Water Department sigh in relief. Limited supplies are replenished with waterfalls running freely, supplying the lowlands, the homesteads and the farms.

Some areas may flood temporarily, but it is a small price to pay for the greening of our island. With the strong El Niño this year, our weather patte