I have had the fantastic experience of visiting Hawai’i on several occasions. Growing up in Florida, I frequently heard people say not to bother going to Hawai’i because, in their opinion, it was similar to Florida. These people, in my opinion, are wrong. There are a few similarities but, overall, Florida and Hawai’i have little in common. One thing these states have in common, however, is rain. I checked annual precipitation in Florida and Hawai’i in preparation for writing this post and I found out that, although the number of rainy days is similar in both states, annual rainfall is higher in Florida than in Hawai’i. I guess that’s why I take rain in stride! I know a lot of people, way too many in fact, who complain, whine, and moan about rain. I learned, early in life, that complaining about rain is as futile as complaining about other things out of my control. Whether or not I complain, it will rain or not rain. (Fortunately, I have rarely lived in places where it snowed; therefore, I have not had the opportunity to listen to many people complain about “liquid rain.”) When it rains, I carry an umbrella, I wear a raincoat if necessary, and I go about my daily business, just as I do when the sun shines. When David and I have visited Hawai’i, we noticed the local residents appearing to enjoy the rain. They didn’t run inside at the first sign of approaching rain; instead, they continued walking as if they were happy to be in the rain. Many people we saw, in fact, didn’t bother with an umbrella. They apparently didn’t mind getting wet as they went about their lives. My favorite part of a rainy day, however, is not the rain itself (although I very much appreciate the rain watering my grass and plants); rather, my favorite part of rain is the rainbows it often produces. On every occasion when David and I have visited Hawai’i, it rained almost every day we were there. Daily rain meant daily rainbows! David and I were astounded at the beauty of the rainbows we saw. We often pulled to the side of the road if we were driving so that David could take photos of the rainbows. I don’t know if it is possible for rainbows to appear on a sunny day, but seeing rainbows is one of my favorite things in life. Thanks to Hawai’i for all the rainbows! And for the rain that made the rainbows possible!
There is a reason that the song (Somewhere) Over the Rainbow resonates with Hawaiians. Sung by many, including Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, my favorite version is the one by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, better known as Iz. His take on the words written in 1939, combined with Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, is captivating. Hearing it, I can visualize some of the rainbows I’ve seen, and photographed, in Hawai’i. I never tire of seeing the refractive magic appear. Photographing rainbows is sometimes a challenge in that cameras have difficulty locking in the focus on them – they are etherial. They are not all arched, solid colors. I remember one that was mostly sideways across a mountain valley. Often, one can anticipate rainbows depending on the mix of sun and clouds. Perhaps it is because rainbows appear when both sun and rain are present that they are so treasured. I heard Jake Shimabukuro, Hawaiian native, ukelele virtuoso, (yes, it’s a thing), once tell the audience that Hawaiians have different words for different types of rain. I don’t know the word that describes rain leading to a rainbow, but there is probably one. There is a 2016 book of Hawaiian rain names, Hanau ka Ua, (the things you can learn on the internet!). Regardless of any name or description, all rainbows are magical to behold.