Love & Light and everything bright...

23 Jan 2011

Updated Sep 6, 2009; Lower Rainbow Shower, Beautiful Sunsets

Tree Blessings & Other Stories

Trek up to Haleakala volcano crater; Another gorgeous sunset (Sep 6)

FROM HAIKU, MAUI (HAWAII)

Tree Blessings

Divine signs can show up anywhere if we keep our eyes and minds open

HAIKU, Maui, Aug 23 - By now you know that divine signs can show up anywhere, sometimes at most unexpected places. 

Like in Rainbow Shower's impassable gulch, back in March (see left photo from March 2009).  Or in a deserted parking lot in downtown Kahului (two middle shots). I took these two shots earlier this week while Elizabeth was at her dentist in a nearby building. 

"A tree that tied itself into a knot," was going to be my original caption.  Until I realized later on that perhaps "there was a (divine) method to its madness."

My second caption was "hands of a tree."  From one angle, the tree formed the shape of a left hand; from another the right.  Furthermore, the two pictures were example of duality, like a negative and a positive, dark and light.  Finally, I realized that the shape of the hand was similar to that a priest uses to bless his/her parishioners.  So I put the four pictures together into a photo collage (right), and called it a "Blessing."  The tree seemed to be blessing anyone who cares to notice it.

Under the Rainbow

Our blessings also continued at the Rainbow Shower.  Remember the old Judy Garland tune "Over the Rainbow" from the "Wizard of Oz?"  Well, this week, we were reminded once again that we live UNDER the rainbow.  It took two photo frames to capture this beautiful rainbow that looked like a giant umbrella over our home (two right shots).  I then spliced them together into a composite picture on the left.

Hawaii's 50th Statehood Birthday: A Non-event

The Kahului tree blessing took place on Aug 21, the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's statehood.  Friday was a beautiful morning at the Rainbow Shower as well, as you can see above.  We marked it appropriately with both American and Hawaiian flags. While in town later that day, we expected to see some kinds of festivities related to the holiday. I even got the Honolulu Advertiser to see how the day is being celebrated across the state.

To our great surprise, what we thought was a big milestone around here, was also a cause of consternation among some native Hawaiians.  There are enough of them who are still opposed to the statehood that the State officials decided not to do anything, so as not to inflame tempers pro or con.  So Elizabeth and I decided to make it a 50th anniversary of the American flag, as we know it.  Hawaii was the last state to have joined the union.  In the middle shot, you can see President Eisenhower unveiling the new American flag on Aug 21, 1959.  And them it was back to work for us at the gulch...

Planting Fruit Trees

Friday was also a fruit tree planting day for us at the Rainbow Shower.

 

The red tractor you had seen in the previous shot started to clear the slope just the Upper Rainbow Shower (our home).  Five months ago, this was a completely impassable sugar cane and bamboo jungle.  And look at it now... the road we had had built with two switchbacks that takes us down the gulch in Phase 1, and seeded with grass in Phase 2, is greening over (two middle shots).  And now we have entered the Phase 3 of the "Battle of the Gulch" - planting of fruit trees with deep roots which will shore up the road banks if the heavy rains come next winter. 

As you can see from the handwritten sketch that Elizabeth and I had made (left), there is a total of 21 fruit trees of various kinds.  And that's not counting the dozens of "wild" guava and passion fruit trees that have been blessing us with their fruit all summer.  Which Elizabeth has been skillfully converting into jars of delicious jams, salad dressings, juices and sauces we pour over ice cream for dessert.  Yum! 

And now, we have also had five coffee trees transplanted from the Lower Rainbow Shower (gulch) to the newly opened slope just below our upper lawn (two left shots).  The slope itself will be greened over with ground covering Wedelia (middle) which also grows wild around here. 

Of course, all this is taking a lot of watering initially, even here, in the moist and balmy Hawaii.  So our irrigation and water bill will probably go through the roof this summer.  We are hoping that the key would will be "initially," and that over time, the nature will take its course and we can use our irrigation system only as an emergency back up for dry spells.

A Trek Up to Haleakala Crater

HAIKU, Maui, Aug 17 - A trek up to Haleakala Crater has been on our list of "things we must do one day" for months.  After all, Haleakala and Puu Kukui volcanoes have been crucial guideposts bringing me to Maui (see My Road to Maui: Between Two Volcanoes, Dec 2005; Maui Calling... , Dec-Feb).  But since Haleakala is over 10,000 ft and Puu Kukui around 7,000 ft, most of the time they are enveloped in clouds.  So one has to pick just the right time to go up there in order to get the best views.  Luckily, we can see both from the Rainbow Shower.  So when I woke up early one day and say that top of Haleakala was clear, I said, "let's go," and off we went on a spur of the moment.

 

The two left shots were taken at the Visitors Center at about 7,000 ft elevation, the rest at the Crater, at about 10,000 ft.

As you can see, there is some interesting vegetation even at this elevation.  Unlike the last time we were here last December, this time there was very little wind.  Which means it was a lot warmer and easier on our bodies.  So while Elizabeth listened attentively to a lecture by one of the park rangers, I headed up the mountain to the highest peak above the Crater (right shot).

The views were spectacular in all directions.

You can see Elizabeth in her bright orange Princeton jacket way down listening to a ranger (two left shots, middle left is a zoom of the same scene). And when the lecture was over, she also took a picture of yours truly atop that crater peak (two right shots).

And again back together down at the parking lot level.

We then drove up a short distance to the summit, where the above pictures were taken.

  

That's where some French visitors took a picture of two of us (left), just before the clouds started to move in.  That's how quickly the weather can change atop Haleakala.

On our way down the mountain, we stopped at a lookout point where we learned some fascinating things about the origin of the Hawaiian islands, and about Maui specifically.  If interested, you can read about it in the above posters.  I had no idea, for example, that Maui was once two islands, each created by the volcano of its own (Haleakala and Puu Kukui).

That's all she wrote this week from the Rainbow Shower.

Stories from Lower Rainbow Shower

Monsteria, Lawaii, Coffee Gemini, Lilikoi flower... our Hawaiian botany education continues

HAIKU, Maui, Aug 31 - The last week of August was quite eventful at the Rainbow Shower [which week hasn't been? :-) ].  We had completed the greening over of the Lower Rainbow Shower (the gulch and the road to it), and had enjoyed the company of a delightful couple of friends from Australia.  Check it out...

Our Hawaiian botany education continues, with the Lower Rainbow shower being both the teacher and the lab.  In the left shot, you can see Elizabeth holding two beautiful specimen of ground cover from our property.  We took them to a local hardware store to find out from some of the natives what they were.  It turns out they were Lawaii, in Elizabeth's right hand, and Monsteria, in her left. 

[By the way, forget the discos, night clubs or concerts.  See how my dancer dresses just to go to a local hardware store? :-) ]

Later on, I transplanted the Monsteria, Lawaii and some if the Tea Trees to the Upper Rainbow Shower, hoping to add more gulch beauty and grace to where once unruly cane grass ruled.  You can see in the right shot what the Rainbow Shower looks like now from across the gulch.  That picture was taken from the slopes directly opposite our home, with the gulch and the Lower Rainbow Shower sprawling below.

We are also trying to do beautify the Upper Rainbow Shower by transplanting some coffee trees from the gulch to the top of our property, once again, where once the ugly cane grass was king.  Among them, we discovered a "Gemini coffee tree," two trunks growing out of the same root.  Naturally, yours truly immediately adopted it as "his" coffee tree (the left and right pictures).

But it may be a while before we see any coffee from it.  The Gemini tree is going through a culture shock at its new airy and sunny location.  It has shed nearly all of the beautiful leaves you can see above.  Hope it starts to grow new ones soon...

...like the Rainbow Shower, the tree in our front courtyard that gave our property its name.  After losing nearly all of its leaves in the last few months, it decided to grow some new ones, and then produce some of the most gorgeous flowers you can see around here (left).  We speculated that it wanted to spruce up its image with a new outfit for the new owners. :-)

Our pretty ornamental bamboo grove, which lies on the southern side of the Upper Rainbow Shower, decided to do the same thing.  Several new bamboo shoots appeared practically overnight (middle).  It is amazing to watch them spurt to life.  It seems they add a foot or two to their height every week.

Not to be left out, the gorgeous Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) flowers (right) are trying to allure the new student of herbal medicine (Elizabeth).  She has been taking classes at the Maui Community College on Hawaiian herbs.  And discovered that the Passion Fruit flower derivative is used as a sedative.  In fact, we saw it last night on the shelf of a local natural healing pharmacy for just such a purpose.

My biggest worry was the greening over of the Lower Rainbow Shower and the road that leads to it.  That's something that we created out of the jungle at great expense and effort.  Well, I shouldn't have worried.  God was on our side.  Ever since July 17, when we planted the grass through a hydromulching process (see The "Green Day" at the Gulch), it has been raining or misting numerous times every day.  And you can see the result from the above pictures, taken five weeks later.

Our gardener remarked just the other day that after several years of summer droughts, "this has been the wettest summer I remember around here." 

"Last year at this time, I was out of work," he added.  "All lawns had dried out and nobody needed me."  So he thanked me for my shamanic prayers which he felt brought about the rain.

Meanwhile, back at the top of our property, I let Elizabeth cut her first banana hand off a tree that sits just below our kitchen window.  As you can see, this belly dancer also know how to wield a machete. :-)

House guests from Australia

Our first house guests were a delightful couple from Australia who are on a yearlong global tour.  Joy and Baz spent the last week of August with us at the Rainbow Shower.  You can see them above getting acquainted with the Jack Fruit (left), assisting Elizabeth in the Rainbow Shower "hair salon" (middle left), snapping a picture of Elizabeth doing a Flamingo dance while I was working on my version of Malaguena (middle right), and then all of us together at a seafood restaurant on their last night in Maui.

Beautiful Sunset

The day before, while our guests were watching the sunset from atop the Haleakala volcano crater, we did the same at sea level, near the Hookipa point.  The pictures that follow don't need any narration...

 

The three left shots are views of Haleakala, where Joy and Baz were filming the same sunset.

And that's all she wrote for the month of August from the Rainbow Shower.

Another Beautiful Sunset

Haiku, Maui, Sep 6 - This evening, I climbed over to the other side of the gulch (leftmost boundary on the enclosed map).  Here's what I saw, looking back toward our property, the Rainbow Shower.  The house is marked on the map as a blue rectangle...

In the rightmost shot, a zoomed version of the middle picture, you can see Elizabeth waiving to me.  You can also see the banks of the road to the gulch that we built last spring.

The leftmost shot is the lowest point on the above map, marked as a red dot.  The middle left photo is the view of that property marker from our lanai at sunset.  And the two sunset shots, taken at about the same time, also from our lanai, need no description.

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