This was not written that one night, although a good deal of it was put down then. It wasn’t even completed the next morning but by bits and pieces until i finally put it to bed on our way back to San Diego. I purposefully stayed away from this infernal machine except for a few catching up emails, news, and posts. It was time for a break.
No photos here.
It is difficult, if not impossible to capture magic.
You can feel it, but capturing it, especially in a photograph, is not something that is going to happen.
We, Maureen and i, at the munificence of our close friends, Pete and Nancy Toennies, are in Hawaii, Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii to be more precise.
It has been a long day. Four a.m. alarm Pacific time, but of course, i woke about a half hour early, then a near six-hour flight, a lost bag, a late check-in at the condo, a power line down creating stand still traffic on one of the few highways on the island, all ameliorated by a wonderful lunch in the lanai of the Kilohana Plantation manor, now the site of Gaylord’s, a wonderful restaurant where we dine at least once a visit, if not twice, for super cuisine with a peaceful ambiance for dinner, but after lunch having to wait, wait, wait, wait until they had our two bedroom suite ready for us with the wait being hot, and well, miserable until i stumbled upon a table shuffleboard and the four of us played, yelled, and laughed for about a half-hour while getting the stink eye from the ten or so little old ladies playing bingo nearby, and then a nap, and then one of my all-time favorite places ever called Brenneke’s just down the walking-distance beach road from our time share at the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club where, long before this Marriott was here, Maureen and i snorkeled in the pool created by lava reefs where tropical fish gathered to snack on bread crumbs from the snorkeling tourists, which we did until several large groupers fell in love with Maureen and her bread sack full of crumbs and kissed her arms and legs with their large suction-like lips until she flipped the sack over dumping the crumbs into the pool while she swam to the beach to not snorkel anymore and we saw all of these tanned, muscle bound men and women in speedos and bikinis and not very attractive at all really standing around a gym of sorts, which is now a tchotchke shop where i now buy my Brenneke ball cap under the stink eye of Maureen, but then, oh back then, we spotted the restaurant upstairs, and after dressing in our shorts and tees from swim suits and tropical gear, we returned to sit in the southwest corner with the wood shutters raised and abundant tropical flowers abounding in the flower boxes hanging outside the windows open to the sea breeze with the vista past the swaying palm trees and the Asian magnolias and plumeria dropping their soft white, touched-with-pink petals on the park of grass leading to the beach and the surf and the Pacific, and we, the two of us, not yet well settled into the ways of the long married, so wonderfully romantically in love sitting there in paradise with a bottle of chardonnay and fresh fish, probably mahi mahi for me but i don’t remember, and a salad with the trade winds gently buffeting us, and driving all the way back across the island to where our condo was in the town of Kapaa, which i have since called Kapahahaha, and taking a nap, after all the groupers gave Maureen a tough morning and i, even then, took naps like my father, the champ nap taker, and we awoke, looked east at that side of the Pacific and dressed and went back to Brenneke’s for dinner, sad it was our last night on the island, our first visit, and sat in that self-same corner table with another great meal and the faddish but wonderful mai tai preceding and another chardonnay along with that meal and now, it is our go-to place and tonight, they had a band, which caused us to flinch when they began to set up because our table was next to their set up but they turned out to be almost but not quite new age with an electric mandolin and electric violin or fiddle if you will and the young lady, attractive but remindful of a thin Janice Joplin sang like Stevie Nicks or Norah Jones depending on the song and they just added to the first dinner and we were tired and walked back along the beach and looked up at the waxing gibbous, dang near full moon and Jupiter and i realized how far we had come as Venus was below the west by southwest horizon and we reached the condo and all went, dead tired, to bed but i stayed up determined to get time synched as quickly as possible but started writing this and felt the tiredness, even with the earlier nap, pour over me and gave up (and old Will Faulkner, eat your heart out, because you caused me to write long run-on sentences and paragraphs, but you really don’t have to eat your heart out because you remain the top dog, one of my two favorites in this writing thing, and your stream of consciousness, never ending sentences will never be matched; thank you).
i did not go to sleep before i sat on the patio in the magic of Hawaii night but studied the heavens with the faded knowledge and droll eye of an old navigator and wondered, as i nearly always do when i have come to the Sandwich Islands as old Twain, nee Clemens, knew them, about those first Samoans lying on their backs in the narrow, infinitesimally small craft compared to the pacific of the Pacific traveling from the opposite direction but almost the same distance in what must have been months but for us six hours somehow without sextants or charts found their way, lying on their backs in their long boats, not much more than canoes even, as the story goes, and following the stars, sighting them by some crude instruments, probably by what the Greeks called Polaris, the North Star for over 2,600 miles to these Sandwich Islands before they were even named Hawaii or Sandwich, and what a glorious place this must have been when they landed long before they had homes of grass and palm leaves and set up shop and hunted and fished and began killing each other because they thought they were different, and when it really was magic here, the non-manufactured type while i, a thousand years later, navigated from the east to the self-same islands most likely using the self-same stars to find magic.
And so i sat there on that patio, body and mind worn out and thought of the magic.
i tried to remember just Kauai as it was the first island i visited other than Oahu and a brief stop on Kahó olawe, the small island used as a live firing range for the Navy and Marines located southwest of Maui. Maureen and i first came to Kauai in 1988. It immediately became my favorite. i felt like i was walking back into the past of these islands. i could hear Roger Whittaker singing “The Last Farewell.” i’ve been to the most visited islands but Kauai remains my favorite by far.
In 1993, we came again with Sharon and Jim Hileman, their twentieth anniversary, our tenth, and we frolicked and played golf and laughed and Jim and i found Bubba’s in Kapaa. A shack really, a kiosk, a very small building with one metal picnic table and metal umbrella out front, three or four stools by the open window and John Greco and Andrew Hart, the owners (along with Debbie Hart, Andrew’s wife) inside the very small enclosure and they took our order informing me they did not serve beer and informing us both they made burgers, their way, and Caesar salad. Period, but i could go across the street and get some beer at the market and i did and as they tossed and stirred our Caesar’s and grilled our burgers, we shared my beer and we finished and Jim asked if they had ice cream and they said no but we could get some at the drug store next door and we did and shared our ice cream and discovered the two of them were island heroes because when Iniki slammed the island the year before, they were getting started and had a lot of their wares on ice and made it all available to the islanders who had been devastated, grilling in an open field and we went back as often as we could and i will go back this trip just to honor the memory.
And sitting here on this patio, i look out past the pools and the breakers gleaming white in the night sky and the full moon and checked out Ophiuchus above the southern horizon, a man grasping a snake, Serpens, another constellation, and even though he straddles the equator i could see him almost in his entirety when back home he does not ride above the horizon from the top of our hill, this snake holder who is a remnant of the past, purportedly going all the way back to Babylonia.
And i felt old, akin to this past, and i dwelled upon it until the tiredness demanded payment, and i rose from the patio chair, slid open the door, and looked back one more time.
It was going to be a great week.
And if anyone is wondering, it was a great week.