Sunday, November 18, 2007

Musings: Off the Beaten Track

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by the house I’m going to be renting near the Anahola mountains next month to check on the telecommunications service.

When I moved to Ha`ena 20 years ago, I was satisfied with a party-line, as it was the only phone service I could get, and watched whatever TV shows I could pick up from the satellite dish at Billie Jean King’s house, down the road.

Now lack of high-speed Internet service would be a deal-breaker, as I’m so dependent upon it in my work. Fortunately, the house has it — along with fabulous views, lots of greenery and blessed silence, if you don’t count chickens, birds and the gurgle of the river.

The driveway, half-a-mile of rough dirt, was another issue, but my landlord assured me my two-wheel-drive car could get out, even in the rain. “Well, I suppose I could always leave my car on the road and walk down if it got too bad,” I mused, but he immediately dismissed that idea.

“Within hours the windows would be shot out and the tires slashed, and then it would be set on fire,” he warned. It’s not that it’s a “bad” neighborhood, or dangerous in any way, but sometimes the Anahola boyz get out of hand, and unattended cars on their turf are apparently fair game.

Those issues aside, I’m looking forward to the move. I like my current house, but after enduring an eight-month kitchen remodel — and still facing the prospect of an upcoming bathroom renovation and other repairs — I’m ready to dig.

Besides, I like living off the beaten track, literally and figuratively.

Speaking of off the beaten track, I slipped off the trail by my house and into the cattle pastures yesterday to avoid other hikers and enjoy the splendid mountain views and golden afternoon sunlight. I was sitting down a little slope, screened by guava trees, when I heard voices getting closer, saying words like, heel, heel, and come on now, boy, flush it out.

Suddenly I realized I was being tracked. Koko was fully alert, but wisely stayed quiet and hidden, as I rose slowly to see a guy holding a shotgun. He still hadn’t seen me, so I picked up Koko and quickly yelled out, hey!

I could see the disappointment on the two hunters’ faces —they had flushed a bird, but it wasn’t the pheasant they fancied.

I apologized at disrupting their hunt, and they said no problem; they were training a new dog, and pleased he had picked up a scent. The little boy tagging along in his orange hunting vest smiled in delight at Koko, and all was well as I got back on the trail and they got back to business.

I'm going to miss this neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

Living in your neighborhood for 20 years is a long time. As a recent reader of your blog, I too will miss hearing about your early morning walks in your neighborhood and meeting up with your neighbor Andy and his dogs. I hope your new place is as safe.

Anonymous said...

Joan, I just read your blog from yesterday. When I saw you this morning, I didn't realize that you'd be leaving. I'll miss our morning talks!! I know I can tune into your blog, but somehow it won't be the same. Andy

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for your nice words, and others have also said they'll miss hearing about Andy. I'll miss him, too, as I've really enjoyed running into him on my walks.

Just to clarify, I've lived on Kauai for 20 years, but in this particular neighborhood less than two. In all my time here, though, it's the first real neighborhood I've experienced.

I'm quite sure my new neighborhood will be safe — despite the car vandalisms — but thanks for your concern!

Anonymous said...

We've lived on the BI for 7 years now. We've never lived in a place where so much change has happened in so short a time. We liveed in Keauhou for 3.5 years, then South Kona for 3.5 years.

HOVE (Hawaiian Ocean View Estates) in Kau District - not where we live - has a map on 8.5 x 11 paper. It is the largest subdivision in America, with 11,000 acres from 1,500 to 5,000 feet elevation.

That map, when folded, indicates locations "above the crease" (higher elevations) and "below the crease". People "above the crease" live there for a reason...maybe a similar reason for many living on a really small Ialand - Kauai. In the upper reaches of HOVE, many are off the grid (literally and figurativelly).

They want to be left alone. It won't happen in the long run, of course. Eventually, modern reality will catch up with them. They are just trying to buy time.

This reminds me of the end of the Western Era on the mainland. The last vistages of the Cowboys and Mountain Men pushed to smaller and smaller regions of "aloneness" until they disappeared an ice cube melting on a sidewalk.

It's interesting to observe.