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Gotta love it.....

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Sorry for the delay folks. Left ya froze up like my pipes. What a tale to tell my friends....

When last you heard from me I was frozen. 3 days with no water...well that didn’t end well. The freeze lasted, at least on our pipes, until December 21st. That was the first time water began to flow. Of course it was spotty, just a trickle. We showered at the gym, hauled 5 gallon buckets home from the chocolate factory so we could cook and flush toilets. It got old fast. Couple that with our busiest Christmas season EVER and I was at wits end. By the time Christmas eve rolled around we had had enough and hopped on a plane back home to Kauai. Ok, it wasnt a rash decision. Belle had the forethought to purchase tickets back in June so we knew we would be going. The only wrench in the works was whether we would have water when we returned.

Ah Kauai. The place where I met and married Belle and had my daughter Lillie. My "spiritual" home if you will. There is a smell to the North Shore that can not be replicated. Jungle funk, with heavy salt tang and blossoms. Plumeria, ginger, fern. The Taro patches of Hanalei, with their fetid standing water, give off waves of uber wet life giving essence. A few miles farther up the road sits Haena, the end of the road. The western most place in America and isolation is the order of the day. I always stay there. Its not a town so to speak, more of an enclave; a collection of small neighborhoods perched precariously on a narrow band of flat land at it's widest maybe 1/4 mile deep from the beach-if that. Now home to the rich for the most part; the giant playgrounds of glenn frey, charo, pierce brosnon and heirs to unspeakable fortunes have made this part of the island almost off limits to most folk. Of course not everyone lives there year round so most houses have become vacation rentals which offers people like me a chance to settle into a nice beach house for a couple weeks.

20 years ago I rented a house on the beach in Haena. A 1 bedroom shack essentially. It was the summer home of the former mayor of the island and was not glamorous by any means. I spent 5 years in that little house and loved every second of it. In the 90's I paid $600 a month for that little place. It is now a vacation rental for $550 a night. I don’t stay there anymore. Time marches on and things change but the beach in front of the old place does not. The cool thing about Hawaii is that ALL beaches are public. No matter who builds above the tide line and no matter how exclusive they try to make it, there has to be "beach access" every couple hundred yards. This allows locals and visitors alike free reign to explore and enjoy the actual coastline; anywhere, anytime. I dig that.

It takes about 3 days to get into the swing of things out there. The pace is non existent. I watched every sunrise and walked the beach marveling at the huge surf crashing on the reef. There was a time when I would actually paddle out into 12' Hawaiian surf; those days are long gone. I laid on the beach and burned my fish belly white Oregon body to a crisp. I played guitar and drank rum in the evenings while preparing dinners of poi, tako poke and kalbi ribs. The stress of the busiest year ever began to melt away. As the surf dropped we went out to my favorite spot and snorkeled. My secret shell spot after a big swell is always on. Large cowrys and cones get tossed inside the reef from the surf and for the sharp eyed are just waiting to be found in shallow water. This trip did not disappoint.

I am back now. Somewhat addled from the journey. The culture shock of plunging back into 30 degree weather and gray skies has caused me to sigh....a lot. I am also buoyed by the memories. The warm sand will always be there in my mind as i grapple with another year of confection making. From shell diving to just stopping to smell the flowers my heart is filled with a renewed sense of place and time. Our journey in life is the prize.

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