The Island Is Calling Me Home

“Kaua’i,  say you love me once again.
I can hear you calling like a long lost friend.
I wasn’t born there, but I belong there,
Kaua’i, say you love me once again.”
– Mike Young


We are on our way home.

The bags are packed. HalleyAnna, our trusted house sitter, is ready and prepped with several lists. The neighbors are keeping an extra eye on things while we are gone. And the dogs know something’s going on.

We are heading to the island. Kaua’i. The farthest of the Hawaiian Islands. Nearly 4000 miles away, and it feels like home to us. Makes sense for it to feel like home for Mark. He spent much of his childhood running barefoot on the Oahu beaches, living at Kaneohe Bay.  Hawaii has always held a part of his heart.

Until a few years ago, the Gulf of Mexico was the only “ocean” I really knew. I’d  been to Cayman Brac once, and dipped my toes in the icy Pacific at Venice Beach one time long ago. But  the first beach I fell in love with was the Texas Gulf Shore. And it will always hold a warm place in my heart.

But Kaua’i holds a piece of my soul.  The island, the people, the water, the landscape. It feels like home.

And by this time tomorrow, Mark will have begun his island decompression. There is no tonic or magic pill that could do as much for a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual health as this island air and the effervescence of the crystal blue water.

Mark listens regularly via internet to KKCR, Hawaiian community radio, broadcasting out of Hanalei on the north shore. He likes having it on as background music while working at his River House office on campus at Texas State. Hearing the daily surfing reports around the island makes him feel closer to the sand.

We read the online Garden Island daily newspaper almost as regularly as the Statesman and Express-News.  The stories are good, offering a sense of community through the crime reports, the surf reports, news of elections and capital improvement projects, along with occasional feature stories and of course, obituaries. Between the Garden Island and Kaua’i Community College, we sometimes talk about living the dream, and wonder  if they might need a features editor or a public information officer on Kaua’i.

We have some friends who are living the dream on Kaua’i. Mike Young, a prolific songwriter, is among them. Between our visits, we talk somewhat regularly on the phone. On any given workday afternoon, a cheerful “aloha” greeting takes me nearly 4000 miles instantly – as he shares the latest news and laments about the island happenings. He tells me about the low surf at Hanalei -and how this week, everyone’s surfing down at Beach House.  And talks about the price of gas, and the economy on the island, and who’s shooting movies out there this month, and…

And he asks what it’s like to live someplace as big as Texas. And wonders how it feels to have so much wide-open space, and to be able to disappear into its vastness. And he makes me realize that everyone needs a second home, a passion place. Whether it’s a South Padre condo or a cabin in the hill country, we all need to have a place to go when we can and dream about when we can’t.

By this time tomorrow, I will have a shell in my pocket and sand between my toes.



“There’s a place I recall
Not too big, in fact it’s kinda small.
The people there know they got it all
The simple life for me.
Hele on to Kaua’i
Hanalei by the bay
Wailua river valley is where I used to play
The canyons of Waimea standing all aglow
The magic of the garden isle is calling me back home.”
– Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Listening to: Iz – “Hele on to Kaua’i