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Sizzling and soliloquizing at summer solstice

It is the doves’ peaceful “coo-roo” with slanting June sunlight that wakes me now, although it’s the scarlet cardinal and his mate I see pecking around on the lawn under the allamanda vine as I peer through the louvers of our bedroom window. Some mornings, a sprinkle of Wailua rain has refreshed the garden, polishing the grass and releasing a fresh, earthy odor. Summer!

Every year right before solstice, I celebrate my birthday and think how fortunate a person I happen to be. I thank my parents for loving each other and conceiving me in mid-September. Entry into the summer season is one of my important gifts to be counted off — the feel of it with tradewinds cooling warm skin; the rioting colors (check out the flame, poinciana, jacaranda and rainbow shower trees); fragrances, and the taste, or tastes, of the season, thinking cool orange and lemon water to quench thirst, root beer (yes!), iced coffee and my favorite summer wine. Then there are fresh salad combinations galore, treats off the grill, lychees and mangos, chilled melons, papayas, pineapples — the list continues.

Lazier days should go onto that list, more time at the beach with a spreading Indian almond kamani or buttonwood tree nearby under which to retreat when the UV gets intense. Let’s not forget more sitting-on-the-porch (or lanai) time, and beach picnics at our welcoming county parks with family and friends. June holds all of this promise.

Keep this all positive, I tell myself. Yet errant thoughts of what people around the world are experiencing as climate change worms its way past the blossoms and sunshine.

Our own Westside is experiencing a major drought and wildfires on the flanks of Waimea Canyon. Our ocean is warming and rising noticeably, undercutting beachside ironwoods, properties, paths and roadways. My Ohio branch of family reports stepped-up tornado activity; the Florida branch is experiencing baking heat that dictates that if one has the means, air conditioning and a swimming pool will help folks in their area survive summer; the Coloradans had damaging hailstones the size of golf balls wreck their roof and more than their share of late snows, seguing immediately into summer sizzle. And in Ottawa, Canada, cousins of mine lost their home to a tornado that ripped through last year, the likes of which had not been seen in remembered time.

Yikes, your “Green Flash” wants to return to the good stuff, the good news, the dreaming and full enjoyment of simple-yet-fulfilling life. On Kauai there is so much to be experienced and enjoyed this summer.

Yet if we as citizens don’t become fully conscious at this time of what’s going on beyond our own little peaceful kuleana (property), we’ll play out the old ostrich-with-head-in-the-sand metaphor. If we don’t band together to speak out, to back and elect leaders who will honestly support action in government that doesn’t lead to disharmony, if not war, and the loss of credibility and respect in the world — not to speak of losing our greatest allies — I’m thinking there won’t be much to celebrate come next summer, or summers beyond. The glaciers will keep calving; rivers will continue to dry; the number of displaced, suffering people will increase. There may be many needlessly lost lives and great destruction to mourn, as well as the hastening erosion of our democratic and judicial systems, and continued threats to the freedom and resulting rights we may be taking for granted.

Now, climbing off the soap box and yet keeping the warning in mind to act upon, let’s return to some really fine opportunities to come together and share — many of them free or for a nominal charge — awaiting us now and stretching into July.

w Today (June 24) at the Kapaa Public Library, 6:30 p.m., halau hula Mu‘olaulani will showcase hula with a contemporary flair, telling and dancing Hawaiian cultural stories. Summer camps for the kids are in full swing. The Mokihana Aquatics club swimming program kicks off this week in the newly-repaired Kauai High pool. A visit to the Kauai Society of Artists’ “Washed Up” marine debris show in Kukui Grove Center can’t fail to please with its artistic whimsy paired with talent (closes this Saturday, June 29).

w A “Universe of Stories” Summer Reading Program continues all at our public libraries, through July 13. Sign in and register at your library or at to be eligible for rewards, activities and programs for all ages — and a chance to win a round trip for four to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies.

w The Lihue Public Library annual used book sale — a chance to stock up on summer reading and more while helping the Friends of the Library raise funds — takes place this Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the conference room. Also in the conference room, the Live Poets’ Society invites practicing poets to meet again, Monday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m., for the usual first-Monday, write-and-critique session. On Wednesday, July 3, a paper and bookcraft set of free sessions using recycled books and paper creatively begins for those in grades six and up.

That’s but a sampling. See you at the bon dances, maybe, or July 4th Hospice Concert in the Sky, Dear Readers.


Dawn Fraser Kawahara, author and poet, made her home on Kauai in the 1980s. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live with books, music and birds in Wailua Homesteads. They share passions of nature and travel to far-away places. Her books are available through Amazon and other outlets. Contact her at
Source: The Garden Island

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