One Year
  on the Island
Joyce Davis
  
Preface
 
Legend tells us that long ago an enormous continent existed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One fateful night volcanoes on the island spewed forth molten lava setting the land ablaze and sending people who managed to escape to the far reaches of the earth. After the fires, the continent, known as the motherland, sank into the sea.
 
It is said that a great spirituality existed on this continent, and perceptive sages told of the forthcoming disaster. Many people heeded their warnings and fled before that fateful night.  Some of the people settled in Egypt, others in India. Many of the last minute refugees settled on the surrounding Polynesian islands.
 
In Hawaii, the story is told of wayfarers in huge catamaran canoes coming to the Island. With them, they carried plants (Twenty-seven it is said) and animals, specifically pigs, chickens, and dogs.
 
Out in the immense ocean, these voyagers saw off in the distance great plumes of white. This was steam from one of Hawaii’s enormous volcanoes pouring hot lava into the cool ocean. The steam told the people that land was ahead. They had little choice but to chance that habitable land surrounded the fuming volcano, and it did.
 
It was a fertile land made lush already by the plants and animals that wind, sea or tides had carried there. The people settled on the island, planted their crops, and honored the volcano that had called them. They gave her the title of Goddess and named her Pele. The people became known as the Hawaiians.
 
When Captain Cook discovered the islands he asked the natives where they lived. No matter the island in which he asked, the answer was the same, “Hawai'i.”
 
Cook considered the natives to be stupid savages, and thus this educated fellow missed a profound truth. The natives were telling him they didn’t inhabit the glob of dirt they were standing on; instead, they dwelled within the breath of the creator. The breath is called, “Ha.” The water that nurtures life is “wai, and the Supreme causation is “I”. 
 
Where do we live? Within the supreme wellspring of the life-force, Ha-wai-i.
 
When Captain Cook asked the natives where they came from they said Tahiti. Tahiti is the name of an island, but to the islanders, it is also a name for heaven.
 
The volcano that called the people with her steam, and thus saved them, was honored as a Goddess and given the name of Pele.
It appears that Hawaii has a long history of “calling” people to her shores, and our little band of three adults, one seven-month-old child, two dogs and two cats fell under her spell.
 
 
 
 
1
The Call
It was a July morning in the horse paddock, an area for the horses carved out of a Douglas fir forest in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. I had hugged and kissed my two mares Velvet and Sierra,  cleaned the barn, spread the hay, and  moved outside to rake the yard. I stopped for a moment to lean on my rake and to watch the morning mist stream from the forest like the breath of some gigantic beast. Across the driveway, our log home shone in the morning sun. The morning was perfect. The house was perfect, the horses were perfect, and our free-range goats, Orville and Wilbur, who had come scampering from the forest to dive into the morning hay, were perfect. One thing wasn’t perfect.
 
I felt I had a hole in my chest the size of a MACK truck.
 
Worry will do that to a person. The business wasn’t supporting us as it had been.  The house and living conditions were draining our resources. My husband had had cancer twice. I knew his work environment wasn’t good for him. Something had to give. And so standing there I asked one of life’s persistent questions:
 
 “Where would I be happy?”
 
It is telling that I asked “Where,” not “How”, but then I’ve learned a few things since that day.
 
One would think with all the beauty around me, our log house, the morning sun, the breathing forest, the horses, and over at the house with my daughter and her seven-month-old son making ready for the day, I would be happy where I was. Still the question was: “Where would I be happy?”
 
 “Check out Hawaii on the Internet.”
 
Rarely do I have answers come so fast, or as clear.
 
Within the hour, I was calling downstairs to my daughter. “Nina, did you know you could buy ten acres in Hawaii for half of what we owe here? I thought everything there cost a million or more.”
 
“Let’s do it,” she said.
 
And so we did.
 
Except it was not as easy as that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
2
 Fact or Fiction
 
My daughter says this writing ought to be fiction. Just think, if it were fiction I could have a shot ring out or a naked lady could run through the narrative every page or two.
 
Sorry, no shots. No naked ladies here either unless the day I showered in the yard counts. Instead, this is the story of how three adults, one seven-month-old man-child, two dogs and two cats took leave of their senses and sailed across 3,000 miles of water to live off the grid on a tropical island.
 
Since this is fact not fiction, and I can’t add licentious details, I think about what one publisher told a writer. “There isn’t enough sex in your story.”
 
“But,” said the writer, “there’s sex on the first page.
 
“Yea,” answered the publisher, “but not until the bottom of the page.”
 
The only sex I can promise you here is the day (as I imagine it) I whispered in my sixteen-year-old mother and my twenty-six-year-old father that they had to do it. I needed that egg and that sperm. I needed it then, that time, those two people. Without that time, that place, those parents, I wouldn’t be me, and I wanted to be me. I wanted my consciousness, my awareness. I wanted to see the world through my eyes. 
 
My father had a car, not many did in those days. He had a job too, he could support a family. My poor mother, though, was embarrassed her entire life for “having to get married.” I’m sorry Mom if I thank you ten hundred million times would that help? “Thank you” times ten hundred million. (I don’t know how to write Thank You to the ten hundred million power.)  
 
The Islanders have a term called “Talking Story” which is to discuss, to gossip, to share tales on a lazy Kona day. That is what I am doing here. For some reason following that directive, “Check out Hawaii on the Internet,” seemed imperative, and the first house with 10 beautiful acres surrounding it, screamed, Move!”
 
 Moving would mean a big break, it would mean leaving behind the house, the job, it was as  Ray Bradbury once said, “Jump, then build your wings on the way down?” And, although it seems arrogant to say it, I felt I ought to write of it—not knowing where it would take me of course, or whether anyone would want to read it.
 
So here it is, my game of playing hot or cold. Warmer, warmer, hot. That’s it.
 
And before we get on with “Talking Story” as the Islanders call it. Talking story it to discuss, to gossip, to exchange stories on a lazy Kona day, please allow me one small tale that one that illustrates my feelings right now: Two monks were walking along a path that led to a river. When they got to the river they saw a beautiful young woman wandering along the riverbank looking for a way across. One of the monks swept the woman into his arms and carried her to the opposite bank.  Later on, down the path, the second monk admonished the first for the indelicate act of picking up a beautiful woman. “I put her down long ago,’ said the hero monk. “You are still carrying her.” 
 
If I followed that monk’s advice, I would not hold onto past events. Yet, I’ve learned a couple of things about life; one is that you live it to experience it; the second is you write about it to make sense of it. (Oh, that is the reason I got the directive to write of our experience.)
 
So I invite you to come along for the ride, perhaps together we can sort out of some of life’s stickier issues.
 
 
   
 
3
I am making a wild assumption here that you, too, have at one time felt your back against a wall. You wondered how to get out of a dilemma, how it happened, what you did to cause it, and what you needed to do to rectify the situation.
  
End of Excerpt
 
After cleaning up this diva site that is slower than a tortoise on ice, I am leaving it. If you would like the entire manuscript of One Year on the Island, I would be happy to send it.
 
Just place your email address in the box below or email me at jewellshappytrails @gmail.com
 
Thanks ever so much for reading.
 
Aloha,
 
Joyce
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