THE PROVINCES
November 7, 2015

I’m the lady from the provinces. In truth,  I’m  an expatriate at heart.  At 36 I’d spent as much time out of the country as I had  in the country and Kauai was about as far out as you could get without a Passport.

It was a feudal state. Sugar was King. Sugar, that historically  infamous dollar crop, held  sway.  Those glorious fields, that glorious crop, that  long green, dancing- in- the- wind grass that worked  two long years keeping our air the freshest,  the healthiest in the world. (Maybe that’s why so many of us who lived  those years ripened so well. and don’t forget it gave us sugar, molasses, and rum.) It’s beautiful yellow tasseles stopped traffic as did  their spectacular death in red/gold flames  in the quiet winds of early morning. An occasional plume of gray throat- itching smoke belched by, but we  forgave it.

There were hundreds  of miles of bridle paths,  maintained just for me and my entourage–one horse, two ponies running  free– and so many dogs I’ve lost count. We often  encountered a cane truck or a helicopter and our jaunts always crossed with  the field hands who greeted us with soft  smiles and friendly  greetings, “Good morning, Mrs. Bill Dux,” they’d call and  I’d smile  back. They were as much a part of this enchanting landscape as the cane itself. The cane mules, during planting season, brayed  love  to my  leopard–Beauregard the gaudy Appaloosa–who pranced by, head up, tail high.

Truly, I could not imagine a more delightful way to begin a day. To face the coming hours  of work and play and who- knows- what-all else lay ahead.

Just as sugar was King,  so were the managers. The department heads were lords and ladies of the manor. I was not much into the social life, women in America are much different from women who–excepting those in the military or Embassy sphere who were always the same– lived in a cosmopolitan community abroad.

On Kauai we lived on the water. Kept our beloved Warpath at anchor in front of the house, my horses in the red barn across the way. Somehow Bill and I managed to combine the horsey and  sailing set. Sailing these water–Bill and me–was too vast another world to describe briefly, but at night, beneath a sparkle strewn sky  and moon wide wonder–no phones, no worldly distractions–was an experience that kept our feet planted firmly on solid ground when they had to be. We lost Warpath during Ewa and Flash, Beau, and Billy are buried here. Bill’s ashes scattered.

Today it’s a third world. Gated  million dollar ghettos. The poor. The homeless. Cane is a  memory lost in concrete- coated  madness.  I see more cars driving to Lihue than there were on the Island 46 years ago. We’ve traffic jams–engine to BBQ hatchback– expelling so much CO2 it’s a wonder any of us survive.

Some people call this progress.

What do you call it?

 

 

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