It’s been a day of wondrous beauty, starting, perhaps, with the half-moon glimpsed dodging clouds through my skylight in the pre-dawn. And then there was that rainbow fragment above the gentle blue of the mountains at daybreak and the shimmer trail on water full of the smell of limu.
Later, it was the pungent fragrance of a sun-warmed ironwood thicket, looking down into a clear green sea, two big honu drifting on the swells. Also, the black and white speckled white-tailed tropic bird chick with impossibly big black eyes, nestled into a nest in the roots of a tree, while above the red-tailed tropic birds were soaring, chattering.
Not far from there an albatross chick stood — perhaps still stands — poised on the edge, downy feathers clinging afro-like to a head that revealed its dinosaurian ancestry, adult wing feathers itching with nits, which it groomed, scratching its head, dog-like, with feet shaped like the working end of a hoe.
Last to fledge in a colony of nine, it looked out, not down, ruffling its feathers, its feathers ruffled by the wind. Was this the day it would take flight, seize its independence?
Driving home, past poinciana blooming so exuberantly, a fine fiery alternative to the rocket’s red glare, while green glowed the mountain ridges, the lawns, the pastures. On the edge of Anahola, a pick-up truck was parked on the side of the road. Beside it was a man I’ve seen many times before, gray pony tail poking out beneath lauhala hat. With his back to the highway he was tending a grill, hands busy turning, tantalizing smoke billowing.
Two signs were propped up next to his truck. “Huli huli,” read one; the other, “Hawaiian Independence.”
And I thought of him and the bird on the brink and all the beauty and the lyrics from that Chicago song ... “every day’s the fourth of July” ... kept playing through my head.