OLD KAUAI/NEW KAUAI

Kauai, through Karen’s eyes in the 60’s , was much different from Kauai through my eyes in ’11, but the Kauai she lived in is very much like mine.

Almost removed from time, my land in up-country Kalaheo, is still very much old Hawaii. Located in a valley  surrounded by a narrow, twisty two lane road and surrounded by open country, it smells, looks, sounds, tastes-if you pick and suck on a honeysuckle sweet Turk’s Head hibiscus and  savor a sun-rippened papaya-and touch every leaf and tree and bough. Every thing you touch is directly related to the same leaf and tree and bough that she once touched.

I’ve no street lights and little traffic at night, so at sun down and early morning before the sun comes up, it could be Hawaii a hundred years ago. I have to saunter outside my gates and walk a bit before I see the light of another house. My land is very animal friendly. It’s really an aviary. The song of the birds, there are hundreds, are a choir of delight; better than the pipes that awaken the Queen at Buckingham. I love the sound of the rooster crow, the cattle low, the dog bark, the occasional bray of a lonely mule. Playful winds keep leaves dancing and branches swaying and, in my wide open jungle house, transcend the need of an air conditioner. When the Night Blooming Jasmin blooms and the Sansiveria blossoms the scent wafting through the house is an open bottle of perfume sprinkled, spilled,  and generously splashed in every corner, every crevice every crack in the red tile floor. The downside  of this refreshing redolence is the same drafty breeze that scatters the scent also tosses leaves inside. I have the only house in the country you have to rake.

Here, in my outdoor ‘studio’, where I write deathless prose and nasty letters in the middle of a deep Honduran jungle, the bank behind me sways with the bobbing white heads of Walking Iris and  literally overflows with life and living things, old and new. A pair of rosy breasted thrush raise their kids in an urn on the  courtyard wall and moments ago my new puppy, Boots, who usually dozes at my feet, fell out of a thick green moss backed branch of a Holly Berry tree crawling with Lawai Fern. Maybe she thinks she’s a cat. In my house, in my life,  you can always expect the unexpected.

I don’t like to cook. I can’t cook. Really don’t have a kitchen. What passes as a land-locked galley is a passing through space where I open the fridge, grab a bite of cheese, a cracker, a handful of chocolate and a quick slug through the plastic spout of a container of orange juice on a galloping dash to someplace else. Any place else.  Bet you didn’t know cheese, crackers, chocolates and orange juice are a great afternoon snack?

I eat like a bird and if I ever invite you to a party where you know I’m going to cook, head immediately for Nome.

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