The lush jungle of the Manoa valley lies within a 45 minute drive of the semi-dessert region where we stay on Oahu. Giant red blossoms, shaped like matching cruets, lay on the trailside after being chopped down like weeds. Perhaps they are but it pains to see them so destroyed.
Moving up the trail we meet hikers returning to their cars, each smiling, each wishing us a good day in the accent of non-native English speakers. They look as if they have seen the face of God and lived. We are standing near massive banyan trees and white barked giants covered with climbing vines.
Later the trail enters a bamboo forest and becomes greasy with mud. I begin to resent the sound of talking in English and other languages about everything except the exotic beauty slapping them in the face. In hope to hear only bird song and the hollow clunks and squeaks of wind in a thick bamboo forest I stop to let everyone pass. The Chinese laughing thrush awards me a tune that blends with the song of rubbing bamboo.
It’s been sunny all day but it begins to rain when we reach the car. In the American south they would look up and ask whether the devil was beating his wife — rain falling through the sunshine. A rainbow forms an arch above the verdant valley, reminding me of the time my 3 year old daughter and I watched a rainbow form above the temperate rain forest of Alaska. She asked me what made those crayon colors in the sky. I told her about Noah’s flood and how God had sent the rainbow to seal his promise never again to flood all the earth. She didn’t seem convinced so I took a page from the great Thlingt story tellers of Ketchikan and said, :It is true –look there’s the rainbow.”