I live here:

I know.

It really looks like this. Any given evening (almost), I could linger over a glass of Pinot and behold this type of splendor, nuzzling the hubby and listening to the delighted squeals of joy emanating from my children as they frolic in the sherbet-shimmery sea. But I mostly don’t. We don’t. We’re stuck in the muck of all the mundane “devoirs”: dance, judo, Scouts, homework, Costco, paper-grading, email answering, article writing, house cleaning, dinner cooking, Daily Show DVRing.

Here’s the thing. When you live on “The Best Island in the Whole Freaking World”  (tm), you’ve always got this alternate, postcard image of perfection hanging over your head like an annoying cartoon thought-box. When you have to work and your kids have to, you know, get all these “enrichment experiences” under their belt so they can go off to college someday and not act like a couple of Mid-Pac bumpkins, come sunset you’re usually too tired to head out for the basking and the frolicking. Plus, there’s the reading to do and the papers to grade (I teach English at the local college, so I’m always staring down the barrel of a stack or two). On the rare occasion when we drop everything and go out for a gaze, I feel like a shirker and, on the less-rare occasions when we stay in and do the pedestrian dailies, I always feel a little bit like a loser. Any way you slice it, you come up Slacker.

Still, this evening, as I head home with a trunk full of Costco, the ancient folds of Iao Valley suck up the waning sunlight and transform it into dripping, gilded rivulets. My breath catches, the love I feel for this place washes over me and I remember. Over on the West Side, beyond Iao Valley where the river runs blood, a maile-adorned, bare-chested local guy runs through manicured hotel grounds, passing the flood-lit fantasy pool, the massage cabanas, the thatched mai-tai bar. He lights the tiki torches, blows the conch shell, then dives off sacred Black Rock, suspended for a glowing instant, before disappearing into the dark land of the ‘aumakua.