When we first moved to Kauai, we lived in a cottage-sized home atop a hill along the coast. I remember lying in bed at night with the ocean as background noise and suddenly hearing a wave crash onshore. “The swell has arrived,” I’d say to Eric. It was an auditory way to learn about the action of waves. Then, we moved a half-mile inland. We traded ocean views for mountain views. On quiet wind-free nights, we can still hear the ocean. More, we hear the thrum of tires from the highway. But on March 18th, Mayor Derek Kawakami implemented a nightly curfew from 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. that went into effect March 20th.
Now, thanks to the mayor’s curfew, there’s no highway noise. Only silence.
Silence can be startling. When I sleep at my parents’ house, it takes me a couple nights before getting used to sleeping in silence—no white noise.
Silence can be a mysterious. Last night, with the moon lighting the yard, I stood on our lanai in awe.
The curfew isn’t the only thing our mayor has enacted. He signed an emergency proclamation way back on March 4th. He closed all neighborhood centers, campgrounds, and large pavilions on March 16th, He canceled community events, classes and programs. He closed bars and clubs, theaters, entertainment centers, and visitor attractions. He closed dine-in service at restaurants.
Some leaders are turning into heroes during this time. Others, not so much. Our mayor rocks. He records daily video updates, encouraging “shakas not shakes.” He tells us he has thick skin, so if we’re upset by the restrictions in place, we should take it out on him not our friends, family, neighbors, or the dog. Kauai is on vacation, he told the visitor industry.
Wearing a face mask to start today’s daily update, Mayor said, “My mask protects you and your mask protects me.” He reminded us to stay home and only leave for truly essential reasons, saying, “Also we know many of you are surfers. But tying a surfboard to roof of car or placing one in bed of your truck is not a free license to drive all over the place. If you’re going to go surf, please surf. Surf boards in a truck are not legal permission to go to your friend’s house and visit with neighbors.” Surfers weren’t the only ones chastised. Golfers and walkers and hikers were, as well. Exercise is fine, he said, but don’t congregate in the parking lots. Our county golf course is still open, but tee times are spaced 20 minutes apart for twosomes and walking. No carts allowed.
On Mayor’s personal Facebook page, he posts videos of various things—Tik Tok dances, how to make a whipped coffee drink, a magic trick—saying, “Stay home, Kauai. Let’s break the boredom together.”
Mayor is serious and playful in his outreach, but he’s always positive, always encouraging, always saying, “We can do this, Kauai.”
His leadership has done wonders in setting a mood and tone for our island. Dude’s definitely got a future in politics around these parts.
Out statewide count grew to 371. Our island added another case; we’re now up to 16.
Be well. Be sane. Enjoy the peace and quiet.