THE GIFT OF WATER

Discovering the profound on the sea, lakeshore under the stars

By Helen Haskell Remien
We first met Steve under a sky filled with stars on the island of Oahu. His face crinkled into a smile as he scooted over, inviting us to sit next to him on a wall dividing beach from resort.  At first, my husband Cam and I said little to this lithe man dressed in khaki pants and a porkpie hat—just small talk about the size of the crowd and our good luck at having seats for the fireworks that would soon light up this stretch of Waikiki Beach.
I’m not sure how the three of us moved from the shallow water of small talk to the depths of connection, but, once it happened, we found ourselves eagerly talking.  Cam and I shared that we lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; Steve told us that he had grown up in Wisconsin and that he loved the U.P. for the wildness of the land and lakes. He now lived in a small town south of Santa Barbara.  We told him we had flown to Oahu for the weekend on a whim, and we asked him about his own flight.  That’s when everything turned topsy-turvy and sea-wavy.
Steve hadn’t flown to Honolulu at all. He had set sail from California in a twenty-eight-foot Cape Dory sailboat, and, after four weeks at sea, he had landed at the marina next to our resort. His boat had a broken boom and ripped sails, but Steve retained an ocean of enthusiasm for this trip, which was his post-retirement dream. He’d been in Hawaii for several weeks waiting for a new boom to be shipped and the seas to settle so that he could sail back to Santa Barbara…

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