Sitting in the dark, in Kauai, listening to the ocean break on the reef just off the Princeville cliff-rise, knowing the thick flocculent green is everywhere in the dark, knowing the sun will rise just south of the lighthouse a few beaches away, listening to the wind demand its own attention as it moves through the palms, koa, screw pines and banana leaves, I feel the sadness of a holiday’s end.
I’m wishing the sun would delay its arch. I like the dark here as much as the light. It’s a warm blanket you can pull over your shoulders while you let the black sea charm you.
But I hear the crowing of roosters now, although since the devastating hurricane in 1992 they crow day and night, like they’ve lost something besides their sense.
For us, we have what we came for: a small but sweet collection of family memories (thanks in large part to the long-range planning of my brother-in-law), the surf, lungs full of fragrant air, heads full of natural beauty, the kind you don’t have to try at, the kind that flaunts and struts—all you have to do is turn your head in any direction. Occasionally we need that kind of ripe beauty. We need effortless beauty. It affords us a break.
And I leave with more wooden jewellery. Koa-wood bling. It’s a small collection but my son now calls me pimp of the forest. I’m trying to imagine this.
Now a pale yellow is reaching through some heavy cloud on the north shore, showing me a pewter Pacific. Light is returning and the Common mynas are bouncing in the clipped grass, chattering, which means the cardinals will show up soon with their beautiful red heads—and I realize I’m ready to leave.
Kauai is a promiscuous green, beautifully overripe island. As exotic as the tropicbird which shows off by flying backwards, its long white tail flowing like a contrail. Kauai gets in you the way a circus does when you’re a kid, but not many of us run away with it.
Home is a deeper place. I look forward to going back to Edmonton. I look forward to complaining about making it through January and February, while listening to Van Morrison sing that line, with perhaps a glass of wine by the fireplace, in the dark.