Hawaii: Nature Runs Wild

Suicidal Pigs, Butterflies and Leafs the Size of Children: Welcome to Rural Hawaii

First seen on Goodreads 

Rocky shoreline with waves crashing against the rocks, under a cloudy sky.

A Look Back on the Butterfly Cage

I started writing my memoir about Deaf education, The Butterfly Cage, about seven years ago. Now, my book is out of its cage and its spreading its wings and fluttering into the hearts of strangers. It’s been an exciting, hard, daunting, fun and ultimately beautiful adventure, and one I strong encourage now to anyone who has a flicker of a book sitting inside them, recurring in their psyche and heart, and harassing them.

Looking to the Past to See Forward

The process is long, and it will both bend to your will and demand respect as its own entity. You will work harder and longer than imaginable, for little money, but it is a way of seizing control of your past and utilizing it to do some good in the world.

A woman with reddish hair standing outdoors with trees and rocky terrain in the background.

Nature Running Wild in Hawaii

And then one day, you might find yourself in rural Hawaii looking at leafs so huge that two of them form the length of you, and a vine so blue it looks like plastic. My daughter lives here, off the grid on the big island, and as I try to bite my tongue as she navigates wet, slippery rocks and cliffs in flip-flops, she regales me with stories of suicidal pigs that run along aside your car when you drive at night here, and then dash in front of it. Not coincidentally there’s a lot of meat eaten here.


She took me to the botanical gardens where the foliage is extraordinary, extravagant, and lush. Reds, oranges, pinks, and a vast array of green tones everywhere, with bright yellows and jewel-like purples balancing out the dizzying feast for the eyes. Flowers in elegant shapes and unexpected masses pepper the landscape, farm stands are everywhere and the weather changes from one short drive to another.

There is a TV in my Airbnb, but it’s small, and the selection even smaller, and I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading, for which I’m extremely grateful.

Books…the Sweat, Tears and Connections

Books have always been important to me, but now after writing one, I see them differently, more reverentially, knowing they comprise of human sweat, grief, tears, and sheer, sheer effort (as well as laughter, joy, and stunning new connections.)

As for the suicidal pigs, I have yet to see one, and thats fine with me!

Want to learn more about Rachel’s Book and the Book Club – Click Here

Woman smiling in a garden with lush greenery.
Rocky shoreline with waves crashing against the rocks, under a cloudy sky.
Bright red tropical flower blooming on a tree in a lush garden.
Dr. Lisalee Egbert's Book Review of The Butterfly Cage by Rachel Zemach.

14 + 5 =

Rachel Zemach - Light skinned woman with brown hair in a purple shirt with flowers on it.

An important book written from the heart about the educational challenges of deaf children

“I had the privilege of interviewing the author on my podcast, “The Art of Medicine with Dr. Andrew Wilner.” I would highly encourage anyone who knows a deaf child or who works in the public education system, especially special education, to read this enlightening, thoughtful and well researched book. It is likely you will view those who are hard of hearing and deaf very differently. It certainly opened my eyes to how much better we can do in our education of deaf children.”

– Andrew Wilner, MD


Black cover of The butterfly cage. Title and Author name are in yellow.  There is a painted butterfly on the front drawn by Nancy Rourke. It is colored in shades of blue, yellow and red.

The Butterfly Cage

‘In “The Butterfly Cage,” Rachel Zemach fills that gap, and then some! Writing from the perspective of both a Deaf student, and long-time Deaf teacher of the Deaf, Rachel enabled me to finally gain some real insight into the severe impediments to learning that we educators create for our Deaf students…’
Woman in a library holding the Butterfly Cage book by Rachel Zemach.

Let's Stay In Touch

Sign up for Rachel's newsletters, upcoming speaking events and information for Deaf education.
Share This