The leaves crackle beneath our feet as we soar through the forest, arms outstretched in mimic of the butterfly. We don’t run but we glide over the gnarled roots that trace their history over our path. Our eyes float to the trees in search of every color of the rainbow. Glimpses of the glass blue sky and chalky, white clouds peek out at us between the gaps in the canopy. The trees come alive in our quest and we are not disappointed with the rainbow the forests has to offer.
The perfect pink of a baby slipper blinks at us from a hibiscus flower dangling by one fine strand of cob-webbing. We watch it twirl in the breeze like a meticulously placed trinket dripping from nature’s own chandelier. A shock of red splashes across the expanse of one thousand hues of green. Tiny dots clumped together among shiny, emerald leaves. We pick a few berries and pop them into our mouths to enjoy the splendor of a freshly picked coffee bean.
And then, the distinctive thud of fruit falling from the heights, toppling through the branches, and landing on the forest floor. We turn on our heels to catch the blur of a ripe orange rolling down the bank towards the river. The kids giggle over the prospect of the orange thunking a fish on the head while swimming obliviously downstream. As we pause for the chatter, I watch the tiny fingers of our oldest one wrap around the thin trunk of a young tree. She is silent as her fingers trace over the plum colored leaves of this young tree, following along the line of a vibrant magenta vein.
Her younger brother flits about in the background, hands to the sky trying to catch the dash of cobalt blue coasting on the wind. We join him in this chase to capture what seems to be a rather talented dragonfly. Through the twirls and swirls and flips, the creature finally comes to rest on a perfect green leaf above carpets of mint and oregano. But, it isn’t a dragonfly at all, and we are all thrilled beyond measure to know that we are viewing the renowned Glass Wing Butterfly! It is a majestic as it sounds, with wings as clear as crystal. The vibrant blue is not visible from its resting position, in lieu of nature’s carefully planned camouflage. Just like chasing a fairy through the forest, only for it to disappear the moment it lands close enough to catch it. She taunts us with her magic until we can find her no more.
The wonder of the forest doesn’t cease from there, and we find ourselves below a massive tree who has been tricked into believing autumn has come. Slowly and delicately, leaves of gold and amber drift from the heavens like delicate ribbons being shed from a young girl’s hair. We stand delighted and in awe as they trickle past our noses and outstretched hands.
Along the edges of a carefully worn path, emerge the colors of pink, orange, and yellow, all mushed together like the smudge of a painter’s brush. Tiny, little flowers that cause a smile to broaden my husband’s face. His fingers pluck the delicate blooms as he dopples them over the heads of our children in a kaleidoscope shower. They delight in the moment, as much for a glimpse of their Daddy’s youth as for the love the of Tupirosa.
Three times over we discover all of the colors of the rainbow, through the birds and the flowers, the leaves and the fruits. And we must negotiate the full range of colors, to include more obvious hues of nature like gray, brown, black, and white. We soon recognize, just as we did with green, that all of the colors of the forest come in hundreds of hues.
The rushing chocolate of the river after it rains does not compare to the bark of the avocado tree, or to the hull of the kukui nut. The black spikes of the “bad caterpillar” are not quite the same as the charcoal feathers of the free range chickens or of the brindle stripes in our dog’s fur. The vanilla colored butterfly is quite contrary to the white blooms of the citrus blossom and cream hue of wild mushrooms. The deep transparent gray that cloaks the ground in shadows of the trees is nothing comparable to the smooth, round stones that support the bamboo bridge.
We trot “home”, knowing that we have discovered only the first layer of the forest. Dreaming of what lies beyond and what we must discover tomorrow. Still sunny papayas to gather, crimson peppers to pinch, and taro root to dig. White tilapia to catch, fire flies to capture, and bird songs to follow.
For now and forever we shall be, children of the trees.