Last week I honeymooned on the beautiful island of Kaua’i. Like Henders Island from the novel FRAGMENT, Kaua’i is a lush island in the Pacific. Unlike Henders Island, Kaua’i is a paradise for human beings. Only five million years old, as opposed to 600 million years old like Henders, this “Garden Isle” of Hawaii is still the oldest of that island chain, and hosts the widest variety of endemic species.
Outside our balcony a multitude of beautiful birds gathered for broken bread and came to know us as rule-breakers who would feed them, staying close at hand throughout our stay. Four geese settled in a circle under a tree in the midday sun, each aimed like a compass point-a single organism with eyes surveying 360 degrees. Geese make good watchdogs and it seems they are naturals.
A small ground-crawling weed on Kaua’i retracted its tiny leaves instantly when my foot touched it-one of the few plant species on earth that exhibit such animal-like motion.
A pincher bug and a lady bug I spotted were both black as coal. The sun-drenched earth of Kaua’i has only two shades: rust-red or black in the stark shadows. These bugs have blended in.
A cocky bird like a miniature magpie jumped on my table at lunch. I offered it a tortilla chip, it tilted an eye at me, hopped forward, and jerked it out of my fingers. This kind of behavior makes island species quite vulnerable-or in the case of Henders Island, quite dangerous.
Islands are marvellous places.