Tag Archives: Magic

Special Delivery

“I knew I would be saved.” Those are the words I keep hearing him say, our 23-year-old son, aka His Majesty, who ran and then hitchhiked the 25 miles across Puna to our house three days after Tropical Storm Iselle hit.

We are cleaning up the yard all day on Monday, piling up ohia branches and huge palm fronds and other debris.

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The power is still out and even though we’re off grid and using a generator until our solar panels are connected, we are still without internet or phone.

His Majesty leaves the 27-acre Kalani campus in Kalapana after working his 6am-1:30pm kitchen shift, running north on Highway 137, also known as the Red Road because it used to be made of red lava cinders, with his cell phone and wearing only shorts and running sandals.

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He is looking for a cell phone connection, for a nice run, and for us.

“Let’s just drive down there,” I say to the Bearded One as we collect fallen coconuts. “We can ask around, find him, see that he’s okay.” I’d said this exact same thing to him and our friend Tom the night before, and neither thought it was necessary or advisable. He’s thriving, said Tom. He doesn’t want you checking all over campus for him, said the Bearded One, who is not worried at all and who gives me the same answer today.

So instead I imagine him at Kalani and send a feeling of concern and love his way. I imagine him wanting to contact us and not being able to. I imagine him getting a ride here somehow. I help the Bearded One lay mulching donut rings of debris around the base of the palms.

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His Majesty’s skin glows light brown and his blond Mohawk ruffles in the breeze. He runs virtually barefoot, just a thin strip of rubber with a strap. He has been craving a nice long run for weeks now. He is strong, his yoga practice coming into its own.

The Red Road is a tiny roller-coaster road running adjacent to the Puna coastline along the ocean.

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Three nights ago 30 foot waves crashed onto its narrow two lanes and 70 mph winds downed hundreds of trees and branches across it. It’s passable now, but power lines still dangle along its shoulders throughout the hamlet of Opihikao 2 miles into his run. They say it will be 2 weeks or more before power and any phone reception is restored this far south.

His plan is to run until he gets some bars of reception, then to call us to come pick him up. Unfortunately, we have no phone reception at all and he realizes this after he calls 3 times, stopping his run, over the course of an hour. After the last call, a woman working in her yard greets him warmly. “Out for a run?” she asks. She isn’t hugely concerned for his safety. She tells him she enjoys a good run, too.

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She offers him water, which he declines but which, he tells me, also somehow clarified his feeling that not only was he okay, but he was also supposed to be there. He’ll run to Pahoa, he decides, and then hitch a ride from the main highway, Highway 130. It’s a popular spot. Even we have picked up hitchhikers there, people we recognized. His chances are good. This will be his first hitchhiking experience. Not a good idea in Seattle. So be it.

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The Bearded One says then, “Check this out.” He’s discovered a coconut with a new tree sprout growing up out of it.

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Treasures everywhere. Chain saws whine in the distance, and another helicopter swoops overhead and races up the coastline toward its destination.

A policeman stands in the middle of Pohoiki Road, just a mile from the junction with the Red Road. “You can’t go through here,” he says.

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“Yes, sir. Is there a detour route?” His Majesty is a bit lost. He smiles and is uber polite. The aloha is not returned. “No,” says the officer curtly. “How far to Pahoa from the Red Road?” “I don’t know.” “Where does that road go?” “I don’t know,” and the officer turns and strides away. He’s probably stressed about his own family and he’s just stranded out here, is how His Majesty continued on with his good feeling as he turned around and ran back down Pohoiki toward the Red Road.

Albizia trees grow an inch a day. The locals call them the tree that ate Puna, and this has come true with Iselle.

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Hundred and twenty foot tall albizias tower over the roads to Pahoa. They are huge and round and can shade half an acre. One was just cleared today from our road. We decide to take a walk down to Maku’u, which has lots of albizias.

He’s run about 10 miles, two toes are sore and blistering and he sticks his thumb out. A handful of cars pass by, and then a Camry pulls over and a woman about my age smiles and asks where he’s headed.


She shakes her head, says she isn’t headed there but did he realize that Pahoa is a long long long way on this road?

“It is?” He shrugs and smiles. “I’m new here.”

“Yes, it is. Perhaps next time a map is in order.”

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She smiles and wishes him well.

He thanks her, waves goodbye, breathes, stretches, and focusses on the next step. He is not concerned. He decided to have this adventure.

We step out of our driveway, and I admire the silvery and gold windsock from our wedding that I hung on a tree in front of our house.

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“Someone’s gonna steal it,” says the Bearded One, but he doesn’t suggest removing it. It’s too beautiful, shimmering in the breeze after the storm. We hang a bag of pineapples on our neighbor Jim’s gate, and then head off on our walk.

His thumb is out but he’s walking, so he smells the marijuana before he sees the low-rider red pickup truck pull up beside him. Two huge Hawaiians say, “Brah!” They tell him they are headed to Pahoa and to hop in the back. As they turn down Pohoiki and pass the same policeman, he and His Majesty spot each other and wave the shaka, the Hawaiian aloha hang-loose hand gesture of pinkie and thumb.

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As a child, His Majesty was mystical, a Hogwarts graduate, eager to learn to use my pendulum and fill in his own numerology chart. And now here he is, magically dropped off on Pahoa’s main drag by the Hawaiian brothers, in front of the Thai restaurant where two of his Kalani friends eat dinner. The island will provide. These are friends who insist on sharing their food and giving His Majesty a ride straight to us, the last 8 miles of his trek.

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“Someone’s here,” says the Bearded One. We’ve just returned from our 2 mile walk, it’s about 5:30, and there is a strange silver sedan in our driveway. It’s empty. We see no people. The Bearded One marches ahead of me and opens the gate. I’m still pondering the car when I hear shouting. The instant I hear it I know who it is.

He’s already given his friends the house and grounds tour and each man carries a perfect white pineapple. I hug them and thank them and then I pluck white and yellow plumeria blossoms and poke them into their pineapples as they leave.


He gives us the story in pieces, the spirit of it wholly magical. The island simply picked him up and delivered him.

Fairy Dust

It’s the Bearded One’s turn to sign the listing agreement.  We all know it’s killing him.  So Kathi the Realtor  and I sit back and stare out the newly-cleaned windows and marvel at the thick cedar pollen clouds, gusting and swirling like smoke, like fog on an otherwise brilliant spring day.

“This pollen is crazy,” says Kathi.  “I’ve got asthma!”

“It’s falling in Seattle, too,” I say.  “The kids tell me it’s because of these three sunny days.”  This morning the Bearded One used the leaf blower on the truck before rain comes and quickly converts the thick coat of dust into very durable permaculture.


I groan as I look at the thick new layer on every flat dark surface, inside or out, that I have recently cleaned or painted.  My shoulder aches from yesterday’s work:  turning the compost, cleaning the chicken coop from roost to nesting box, and raking out the berry patch.  I even ordered six seed packages, a gesture that accepts, sort of, our continued presence here awhile.  I’ve been a bit grumpy lately, feeling neither here nor there, courting a beloved buyer who will not call.

We tried to sell the house ourselves for 10 days.  Free ads and Zillow and home-made signs and word of mouth — and got two inquiries from agents wanting the listing, and two from ones interested in owner financing.  A friend advised us to bury a St. Joseph statuette upside-down in the yard and say a prayer, that this did the trick for her.  I didn’t want to buy a Joseph, and the Bearded One didn’t want me to bury the little Christmas nativity statue I have because I’d have to bury Mary and the Baby Jesus, too, and that couldn’t be lucky.


Now Kathi, my fairy godmother and real estate matchmaker, is taking over.

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Kathi sneezes and her eyes water, the Bearded One passes the paperwork to me to sign and initial, and then the phone rings.  The Bearded One goes to answer.

“This place looks like it’s just loaded with karma,” says a man named Chuck.  They saw our Zillow ad.

“Yes, indeed,” says the Bearded One, and invites Chuck and Amy and their enormous dog Dandy to come see the place.


“We’ll be there in an hour,” says Chuck.

“How did you do that?” I ask Kathi.  She laughs and shrugs and I say, “We hire you and get our first showing within a few seconds?! Everything is connected to everything, that’s all I can say.”

*   *   *

Kathi leaves and it takes me a half hour to stage the house, hiding stuff, clearing counters and tables, cleaning sinks and mirrors.  None of which makes much difference, but keeps me busy.


The pollen has stopped blowing for the time being anyway, and when Chuck and Amy arrive, right on time, there’s a glow in the air.

They are roughly our age.  They have just moved from Hawaii, they say, and now live a half hour away from here.  Their 30-year-old son is still in Hawaii, but coming soon and wants to raise chickens and alpacas and live on acreage in the woods.  Chuck and Amy have been scouting houses for him.

“Hi there,” I say to him through Chuck and Amy’s Skyping phone and camera.   Then Chuck carries him with us just ahead of the Bearded One and Amy and me and we walk the nature trail, tour the barn and aviary and hoophouse, and then, finally, the house.  The farmlet looks beautiful and magical and everyone can see it — even all the way over in Hawaii.


*   *   *

It comes out as a long, high-pitched wail, a hit of pure magical joy that literally pulls me out of the house and through the cat condo onto the pollen encrusted deck — “Yahhhhhhhhh  HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” when Kathi calls back (sneezing) the next day with their full price offer.  We are going to Hawaii.


Falling Into My Lap

All weekend, Hansel reminds his dad about what will have to happen in order to actually get a puppy.  “If one falls into our lap, that’s what you said.  If it just falls right into our lap.”


Hansel’s father is a fair man.  Their last dog, when they still lived next door to us, was a wild thing that got cancer at age 3 and had to be euthanized, so he is justifiably wary and put the issue — his three children’s deep and constant yearning for a puppy — into the realm of the Almighty.  “If one falls into our lap,” he had indeed told Hansel all autumn, and now it is January, and the Almighty has spoken.


*   *   *

All week the Bearded One and I revel in the decision to move to Hawaii.  We take stock and clean out, things we might have done anyway after the New Year we tell ourselves, as if we haven’t really decided.

Never mind that we’ve talked to a realtor neighbor and have considered whether to include the goats to make it an already-stocked-farmlet, or to advertise the goats on Craigslist just like the ad we responded to two years ago.  Arly sniffs through the piles of files, boxes of art supplies, and bags of clothes, absorbing all the stories.  He shreds the Bearded One’s flop.


“Are there Flop Trees in Hawaii?” the Bearded One asks me on Sunday night, and I laugh.

I’m on the couch and cuddling Arly’s solid little chesty 21-pound body, kissing his velvet ears.  He licks the lotion from my neck.

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Hawaii has a pet quarantine law of up to 120 days, which is four months, which is how long Arly has been alive on the planet.  Too long for a pup, so if we are really moving, finding a new home for him sooner rather than later seems the way to go.  Better for him.


Garfield is seven, but since our idea is to rough it in Hawaii for a few months and explore, we need to re-home him as well.  On Friday I emailed Hansel, Gretel and Batman’s mom asking if they would like to adopt Arly.  And now, on Sunday, they’ve accepted.  This is our last night together, and I’m enjoying the best part of having raised this sweet puppy for two months.

*   *   *

Hansel, Gretel and Batman pile out of their car.


Arly races to meet them.  Hansel crouches to pet the wiggling puppy.  Gretel presents me with a gift, a drawing of a chicken —

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— which matches the button she gave me the last time they were here, and which I’m wearing at this moment.  Gretel notices and smiles, showing her emerging two front teeth.  Batman clings to his mom, since Arly scratched him on the chin last time.

We all go inside to talk and get Arly’s luggage.  His favorite pillow, his bag of food and treats, bowl, leash, basket with shampoo and nail clippers, and a couple of our favorite dog picture books…Good Dog, Carl and Hideaway Puppy.

There are boxes everywhere, including one with oodles of office supplies — paints and markers and construction paper and tablets — and I offer the whole pile to the kids.  Seven-year-old Gretel beams.  “I always wanted a clipboard!” she says.  There are two clipboards, and Batman seizes the other one.


Batman, too, has had a dream come true.  He smiles and says that Arly, who perches on Hansel’s lap on the couch, is better than last time.  Calmer.

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Hansel is in charge of Arly, and he takes him out on the road on the leash while we load all the puppy and art supplies into the car.  Then we help buckle Batman into his car seat.  Gretel climbs into the middle of the backseat and immediately continues work on a new chicken series on her clipboard.

Finally Hansel walks back into the driveway and offers Arly up for us to say good-bye.  I’m so happy for Arly — he’s been rather bored this week since Roger left — that I can hardly be sad.  I’m full to overflowing.  This is a giant step into the rip current taking us to Hawaii.


All of the theoretical obstacles to a big move are falling like dominoes. The Bearded One grins, and pulls me to him.

Hansel gets into the car next to Gretel, his long legs cramped, his smile lighting up the world as he pulls Arly into his lap and says, “YESSSSS!”