Where I lived, there are rainbows

by Brian Keaney

I must admit that I do love rainbows.  It sounds like something a 7-year old girl would say, but when I lived in Hawai’i I really began to appreciate them.  They were stunningly beautiful at times, and scarcely a week went by that I didn’t see at least one or two.  On my visuals page I  have this picture of a rainbow rising out of the lava field at Volcano National Park on the Big Island.

I also have a number of shots on my Facebook page, including this one.  I didn’t normally bring my camera with me to work, but I was glad I did this day.  As seen from my office, this rainbow arced directly above Punchbowl, a dormant volcano right in the heart of Honolulu.

As much I like them, it’s clear that this guy was really affected by the admittedly beautiful rainbow he saw from his front yard (via Human Nature).

It’s easy enough to call the guy a kook, especially after he tells a reporter that he was physically knocked down by the “powerful rainbow rays.”  Still, I think there is something to be said for the sense of wonder this man still possesses.  When was the last time any of us were knocked down, literally or even figuratively, by something of immense beauty?  Have we really all become so cynical and jaded to the world?  I fear that I have.

As I am wont to do, I’ve been taking my Jeep out onto the beach to light a bonfire most Saturday nights this summer.   To get there requires two miles of off-roading and then four-wheeling a couple hundred yards through the dunes.  Just a few miles away is civilization, but in my head I’m worlds away.   I love the beach anyway, but there is something special about it at night.  You can truly clear your head when there is nothing around you except stars and surf and sand.

I think I was in that frame of mind more when I lived in Honolulu.  When I first moved there I noticed that I would often weave in and out of people on the sidewalk.  I wanted to get to where I was going, but the locals were perfectly content to stroll along and get there whenever they got there.  If can can, if no can no can, as they say.  I slowed down a bit after a few months, but I don’t think the New Englander in me ever completely left.

After living there I can now say with some degree of certainty that Hawai’i  is a foreign country that happens to use American currency.  It’s a place unlike any other I’ve been to in the United States, or anywhere else, for that matter.  I miss it still, and I’ll often listen to Hapa, Iz, and other Hawaiian artists at my desk and in my Jeep.  There’s something about the whole culture, and the music in particular, that just soothes the soul.

One of my favorites hapa hula songs is “Where I live, there are rainbows.”  I can’t find the particular version I like so much online, but the lyrics capture much of the magic of the place.

Where I live there are rainbows
With flowers full of color
And birds filled with song
I can smile when it’s raining
Touch the warmth of the sun
I hear children laughing
In this place that I love

(hat tip for the lyrics to Senator Gary Hooser, with whom I once worked)

Hawai’i is still a place that I love.  Someday I’ll return “and never stray, from Honolulu, in Hawai`i nei.”

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