Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Beautiful Kauai! by Susan Aylworth

Natural beauty can heal and revive, or so we are told. I tested the theory recently when a friend invited me to join her for a week in Kauai.

I’ve known Janice since we were toddlers. Our families lived on the same block and our moms were friends. We can’t remember meeting. When she offered me the chance to join her at her timeshare on the north shore, I jumped.

Is there a more beautiful place on earth than the north shore of Kauai? I’ve been many places and seen much natural beauty, but rarely have I seen such lovely scenes as we found everywhere we looked on Hawaii’s Garden Island.

Picturesque little towns sprang up among rainforests in all shades of green, blossoming in a variety of amazing colors. Until this trip, I didn’t realize plumeria could grow into trees a hundred feet tall, nor did I know this signature Hawaiian blossom comes in brilliant red-orange. Among the plumeria and all along roadsides and riversides, other trees bloomed with bright yellow flowers that opened slowly over the day, turned orange in the afternoon, and fell in showers of red by dusk.

As fascinating as I found the foliage, I was equally astounded by the birds. Hawaii has its own local species, such as the Nene, a goose unique to the islands. The 50th state also boasts its own species of cardinal with a brilliant red-crested head but body and wings in shades of black, gray, and white.

Most amazing to me is the Laysan albatross, a bird well known to sailors (think “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”) and which I’ve read about for years, but had never  seen. We visited a place where the birds nest unafraid on the grounds of the Makai Golf Course. The adults had flown, abandoning their chicks and forcing their young, through hunger, to prepare for their first flights. The newly fledged chicks, just babies, were the size of geese. In time, they’ll become like their parents with a wingspan as great as 11 feet. Amazing! With  the birds, foliage, and flowers, the beauty of Kauai is astounding.

Janice, who has frequently visited the island, made a point of showing off her favorite places. We spent time enjoying the beach at Hanalei, where “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” a spiny mountain, winds around the bay. We splashed in the waters there and admired beaches in a dozen other lovely scenes. We ate at Tahiti Nui, a lovely local eatery which has made cameo appearances in Hollywood productions.

As one highlight, we enjoyed a fire show near Anahola. This was Janice’s eleventh year and she knew many of the performers who also recognized her. This show is largely the work of one extended family and it is nothing short of fascinating. Two days later, on Janice’s birthday, we returned to the same venue for a Kanakapila, essentially a local jam session featuring music rather than dance. Both were great fun.

Janice and I enjoyed the island’s wonders, and I believe we both found the time  healing. She has been widowed almost three years. Since it’s just over a year for me, she was able to coach me on  what may come next. That too was healing.

I’ve seen great natural beauty in many places. For those with eyes to see, it comes with wide variety. Last month, I was in Monument Valley which is about as different from Hanalei as possible and also astounding in its scope, breadth, and beauty. I’m sure I will see more different, beautiful places, but I will return to the Garden Island any time I get the chance.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 25 published novels including two small-town sweet romance series set in and near the Navajo Nation and in the Sierra Nevada foothills. as well as five books in the Christmas Town series. Susan lives near Utah's Rocky Mountains. Watch for more books coming this summer and fall in both the Rainbow Rock and Christmas Town series.  ALWAYS A RAINBOW, Book 7 in the Rainbow Rock series, released on Mother's Day. Book 8, THE PROMISE OF RAINBOWS, releases this month. Contact her at her website:,  or via, also @SusanAylworth. Susan loves travel, music, her large and scattered family, perfect raspberry jam, and hearing from readers. 

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