Today marks the first day that we have no new COVID-19 cases. I have been in isolation in one form or another since I started coughing on February 13th. So today, May 8th, marks about 11 weeks without my normal life. It started to get to me this week when my daughter stood in front of me in her graduation gown and told me that she would be getting out of our car for a two minute opportunity to grab her diploma from a masked educator and take a quick photo and that would be it for the ceremony.
It’s not just the loss of our ability to “move about the cabin”, but the loss of life memories, such as graduations and sadly for many of my readers, their entire vacations.
On the good side, I have kept myself busier than most people with taking on a new client, launching a new “365Kona Homebuyer’s Club” and holding nightly live stream sunsets with the world. But, when I heard the Governor announcing that he was easing restrictions on businesses this week, it felt like a light (ok, no more like a strobe experience) at the end of the tunnel of a very long half life.
The Past Week Or So
We have been mandated to wear masks into the grocery stores for the past two weeks or so. I went in yesterday and it was just surreal, with being stopped at the door to put hand sanitizer on before I could shop and then the quietness of people just hurrying through the aisles to get what they needed. I was one of those shoppers, as the uncomfortable nature of wearing a face mask stopped any thought of walking to any part of the store that was not on my “must have” list and was off limits. The good news was that yesterday, the toilet paper was back on the shelves at Target. Somehow, that made life a bit more normal. But the looming “beef crisis” and supply chain disruptions that are coming, have me thinking about feeding my family as much as stocking our bathrooms a few weeks ago!
Health experts have been proclaiming for weeks that it is important to get outside and get some exercise, so I have been making it a point to go for a run or a bike ride whenever I can. We were told that some of the beaches were open for walking on, so we decided to head down to Pololu Valley for a hike and well, to just breathe. We took our 15 year old son, who has been spending hours and hours in the house on his phone, so he could be out of wifi range and would be forced to look up and see nature, swing on some ropes and remember that he is still a kid.
Wandering through the pine trees, being in that valley and seeing the late afternoon sun against the walls of the cliffs was soul re-charging. I know that reading this, for some of you, is heartache inducing as you sit on the mainland, with missed trips here or just missing being on an adventure. I get it. But, I encourage you to know that an end to all of this is coming at some point.
We wrapped up our late afternoon adventure that day by driving up Highway 250 on Kohala Mountain Road and pulled over at the scenic outlook in order to set up our phone for a live stream of the sunset for our 365Kona fans. It was breathtaking and it was amazing to share it with dozens of people in real time. I think that something can be gorgeous, but unless other people are there to experience it, too, it does not have the same luster or excitement. Our fans make it better for us, so thank you to all who were there, too.
The streets and beaches are still relatively deserted. The ocean is quiet without boat traffic, the air is quiet without many planes coming in, and traffic is a dream without kids in schools or the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life in Kona. I miss it, that bustle, a bit. I certainly miss meeting friends at one of our coastline restaurants for lunch or happy hour and sunset. Thinking of a bar with slack key guitar in the background, the energy of visitors floating on the happiness of a long awaited vacation while my local friends pat a chair and beckon me over seems like a very long time ago.
Our days are centered around getting outside on our lanai at 6:30 pm and sharing aloha and positive energy with others. There has been the blessing of this nightly routine that has given us some laughs as well as letting us show compassion for many people aching to be in Kona. It seems that they entertain us just as much as we are entertaining them.
The Big Island had no deaths at all during the crisis and now it looks like we may have a “clean bill of health” soon. Of course, the way forward to opening the islands again is going to take some time.
We hope that life starts to gain some normality this weekend as a few more businesses are allowed to open and maybe a bit more easing of beach time. Sitting on a Tommy Bahama folding chair on a beach has never been more anticipated. Stay healthy and safe!