“The earth laughs in flowers” is a quote by American poet e.e. cummings. If that is so, Hawaii must be the earth’s comedy club. Not only does nearly everything here bloom, it does so in unpredictable ways and times.

I suppose a botanist could have predicted that a tree I walk by nearly every day would bust an orange floral fuzz-ball out of its knee cap but it caught ME by surprise. It’s not the first time I’ve stopped in my tracks to laugh and reach for my camera. For months when we first moved here, I walked past a perfectly lovely row of green plants that look sort of like a hedge, if a hedge had wide, flat leaves. One day, the plants all sprouted beautifully delicate, fully-formed white flowers, as though they conspired on the date.

Each type of flower seems to have its own rhythm. The temperature doesn’t change much, nor does the daily cycle of daylight and dark. Yet, the intricate Bird of Paradise flowers disappear for a time before they bloom again, just like the mysterious white-flowered hedge. It is completely unlike the mainland, where plants follow a coordinated seasonal cycle. Here, it’s as though they take turns so we are never left without fresh blooms.

Not only are the flowers taking turns to keep us company, they are competing to entertain us. I can’t begin to describe the blossoms that occasionally poke out from a bramble of thorns about half-way up a two story tree-trunk near my bus stop. That will be another story. My point for today is that if you take a Hawaii vacation, you too will see that the plants in Hawaii seem to be in a constant search for new ways to create odd flowers at odd times and I find it poetic.


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