In spring, Hawaii’s plumeria, gardenia, milo and kukui are blooming. Hawaiian monk seals are pupping. Mangoes are fruiting. Laysan albatross chicks are feathering out. Red-footed booby chicks hatching. There are Nene and Koloa and Black-crowned Night-heron. And chickens. Boisterous chickens. Really boisterous chickens.
In Hawaii, for me, there is also laundry to be washed, lawn to be mowed, weeds to be pulled and floors to be swept. There are deadlines. Assignments. Projects.
Hawaii doesn’t have tulips and daffodils in spring. Blossoming poplar and alder. A half-dozen harbor seals surrounding your rowboat. River otters snacking on crabs next to your dock. Eagles perched 80-feet high in cedar trees. Canada geese leading goslings around the bay. Great blue herons tip toeing through muck at low tide. Common mergansers. Red-throated loons. Belted kingfishers. American crows. Woodpeckers. Or red foxes slipping through the woods.
For all the reasons I recommend visiting Hawaii on vacation--learning, exploring and awing—I actually left Hawaii to go on vacation. I may know a thing or two about Laysan albatrosses, but I knew absolutely nothing about the common merganser before last week. And, wow, can they move on the water. When they’re chasing down a fish, they can pedal those webbed feet as fast as Lance Armstrong racing for the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
But, for all the birds I checked off my life list, it's sure good to be home. Even if it is raining.