A lazy start of the day:
The sun is just high enough to hit the house. Tubster and his buddy, Zipper, are snugged up against the garage door. Tubster is the oldest member the colony and definitely likes to warm his bones. From kittenhood, Zipper has enjoyed snoozing with his nose in Tubster's fur. Later, Tubster will move into some shade while Zipper cruises the fallow field below the house.
The front half of lanai roof is in full light. There's shade in the back. That's perfect for protecting exposed head skin while warming slipper-clad toes. Don't you want to grind your teeth every time someone refers to the quintessential footwear as "flip-flops?"
While settling into a chair, Malone, the friendliest outdoor cat, scurries over. He has a dog-like affinity for humans, especially if there is a lap involved. He's been sticking close to the house since he had a collapsed lung, probably due to being hit by a car driven by some dolt trying to turn a 20-mph road into a highway.
For a certain kind of personality, there's nothing like living in the country. Wide sweeps of the island can be seen without having to ignore buildings and horizontal strings of cable and power lines. It's quiet enough to hear birds and the rustle of plants in a breeze.
A Brazilian cardinal sings unseen: "Whee, tee, tee dee." A mynah warps into a landing on the abandoned furo house. It hangs around for a bit, does a little tap dance on the corrugated tin roof and announces a takeoff. Sometimes, the immigrants congregate on the house roof, adding the clatter of feet to noisy conversations.
A dove spreads its wings for a perfect two-point landing on a fence. It surveys the yard for leftover kibbles. Doves and mynahs love dry cat food. The mynahs are careful to keep a watch. Doves are dumber. On a regular basis, there are members of the flock who concentrate on eating to the point they get eaten.
The old jacaranda bloomed early this year, spreading a purple carpet of petals on the driveway. It's looking a little ragged, but still sports enough blossoms to lure in a buzz of bees. The purple looks good against a blue sky punctuated by a fluff of clouds.
There's been just enough rain to encourage the hibiscus. The yellow one, rooted in the slope of yard where there's more moisture more often, has been going nuts. Hibiscus can survive drought but they love water. There's a bounty of hand-sized blossoms. The smaller, orange hibiscus has managed a half-dozen flowers. It was planted in a flat, drier section of yard and has gone for months without producing much more than a scatter of leaves.
Seeing the hibiscus prompted an old-timer to reminisce about her days at Kaunoa School. "Every morning, we'd collect hibiscus flowers and put them on palm spikes in the classroom. They'd all be dead by the next morning, so we had to replace 'em. Hibiscus don't last long." Maybe that's why they are a favorite hair adornment for women advertising their availability, or unavailability. Romantic alliances can be fleeting.
The 20-foot-high mock orange bush blocks the view of the closest neighbor. That's probably why it was originally planted. It needs some water. There are too many yellow leaves.
The mixed bag of different grasses is going brown. There's red top, viny pasture stuff, fountain and some unidentified wispy blades that are hard to mow. They bend, defying the whirling blades.
There's one swallow left in the coffee cup. Malone has settled down, abandoning his effort at getting scratched. The day is growing older. The first of the day's serious clouds are gathering - dense, gray, fat-bottomed teases. They promise rain but seldom deliver. Well, maybe a short-lived patter, but not enough to soak the ground. In the last week, those clouds have come to rest in Kula, producing fog dense enough to warrant headlights.
If it rains at all in Waiakoa, it will fall between 3 and 5 p.m. Don't know why, just know that's when it does. This is a dry part of the island, a half-mile or so below the usual rain line. Without irrigation, the only reliable crop is na pohaku, rocks lying on or just below the surface of hard-packed soil - ghosts of volcanic eruptions past.
There are chores to be done. Ahh, maybe later. No, now. Besides, the coffee pot is empty.
* Ron Youngblood is a retired editor and writer at The Maui News. His email address is email@example.com.