THE ROAD TO HANALEI

On the road to Hanalei the world goes by.

One day we opened our gates and the world, like the tide in a tide pool, poured in. Our land is fenced, the horses and other animals run free, but along the highway the property is long and deep and a virgin wood, we haven’t touched it, shield us from the sounds and sights of the road. We have a gate with signs on it, which everyone ignored. Our first trespassers were shaggy hikers coming down from the Kalalau trail, foot-sore, dirty, and fierce-looking, searching for a safe place to spend the night.  Many of them were school teachers, summertime R & R, in their late twenties and early thirties. Once we had two physicists from the University of California. David and they had a ball.

They cleaned up at our house the day they left the island and it was difficult to believe they were the same two men. Shorn of their scraggy beards and tangled hair, minus a few layers of grit and sand, dressed in mufti, shoes and all, they were mundane; the most ordinary looking pair of four-eyed eggheads you can imagine.

Once we had two Irish Catholic priests from the Philippines. They helped build the irrigation system and plant our orchard. We send them lichees and read strawberry guavas when they are in season. They write and promise to return, with two little nuns next time.

*

I love to visit the camp. I am a visitor there, always welcome, but a visitor nonetheless. By now we have several permanent residents and we’ve become, not only friends, but good neighbors, and that’s harder to do. We respect each other. We each have our territories, our space, and we don’t intrude. We drop in on each other, we drop hints, which is at it should be.

“I got a’idea about these damn Japanese beetles that’s eatin’ all the tomatas. Can I see ya’about it later?”

That would be Lew, he’s our senior resident, both in age, and time of residency. A tough and leathery ex-cowboy from the south West, he’s a wizard with plants and animals. I couldn’t hire a man to work as hard as Lew. sometimes he makes me feel guilty. When he gets and idea and he gets an idea it’s usually a good one, and he can bring it to fruition, too.

Once I offered to pay him for a job and he wouldn’t speak to me for a week.

I’ve never been to the camp and been displeased. It’s sort of family oriented, coeducational, free-for-the-asking Bohemian Grove. People come and go and are scattered about  in there like Indians in a forest.

It’s always neat. It’s always clean. It’s always tidy. Which is more than I can say for my house sometimes and the world outside the gates.

Compost heaps work and they don’t smell.

Firepits are banked.

Territories are raked and swept, with what often turns out to be homemade brooms.

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