The skies are blue and clear this morning. I feel like a bear emerging from the dark hollow of a tree. Of course, my house-bound hibernation lasted only 24 hours, not an entire winter.
The storm started Saturday afternoon.
After teasing us all morning, Mother Nature got serious on the heels of Saturday’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count. I was stationed along Kauai’s South Shore coastline at Mahaulepu-Makawehi on a bluff near the beach known as Shipwreck's in Poipu. (Note: Hawaiian name is Keoneloa Bay and, yes, the elevated location atop these bluffs are fabulous for watching the sunrise and the whales.)
By noon, the sky off to the southwest lowered to a scowl. A growl or two grumbled to go with it, and I high-tailed it for home on the opposite side of the island.
Twenty-four hours later, the skies had squeezed out 8.3 inches of liquid in Anahola, where I live. Wainiha, on the North Shore, received the least rain on the island, at 3.45 inches. And throughout, the sky rumbled and flashed, and the dogs sought safety under the covers of my bed and, later, the sofa.
I don’t ordinarily watch the weather forecasts. I don’t pay much attention to the weather in Hawaii. But brides do.
My cousin got married on a South Shore beach last Wednesday evening.
“Is it going to rain?”
“What’s the weather forecast?”
The questions started almost the minute they stepped off the plane.
The general, catch-all weather forecast that we kamaaina like to spout is, “Partly sunny. Partly cloudy. Chance of rain.”
But that’s not good enough for brides. They want a guarantee. It may have been 23 years ago and half a country away, but I remember giving a keen eye to the condition of the turning leaves on the trees in October. I wanted the height of fall colors, the most vibrant reds, golds and yellows to paint a beautiful background in my wedding photos. Brides everywhere are no different. We all want to get married on a beautiful day.
Kauai Island wisdom proffers, “If it’s raining where you are, head to Poipu.”
There’s an easy explanation for why the North Shore of Kauai evokes the lush and green image of the tropics. That reason is rain. Kauai’s North Shore receives more rain than the South Shore, and that rain comes in the winter. So, it’s a good bet to plan a winter wedding on Kauai for the South Shore, the leeward side of the island. There’s a good reason for the moniker, “Sunny Poipu.”
My wedding album is packed away in a storage unit in Kansas. As I recall, the photos captured blue skies and trees displaying a palette of colors. I don’t remember what the weather was like the day before or the day after.
Last Wednesday, on 2-12-12, my cousin Stef and her intended Aaron said “I do.” The skies were blue. The sun beamed. The trade winds hardly ruffled the ocean’s surface while surfers rode picture-perfect waves off-shore.
Another weather saying on Kauai goes, “If it’s raining where you are, wait 15 minutes.” Generally, the rains in Hawaii are the passing kind. And with nearly a dozen different micro-climates on these islands near the equator, we also say, “If it’s raining where you are, drive 15 minutes down the road.” It’s usually sunny somewhere on the island.
Sometimes, a storm stalls over Kauai and stays. Sometimes, it rains over the entire 33-mile-by-25-mile island. Non-stop. For 24 hours. And roads flood, bridges close and rocks fall from cliff faces. Like yesterday.
Eventually, the skies clear, and the air looks as if it’s been scrubbed clean. Immediately, the mountains are greener--like when I punch up the color saturation on my pictures too much. And, sometimes, I discover waterfalls in unusual places. Like a crease in the mountain across the street from my house.