Yesterday, Lulu led us to the beach on our walk. It was the first weekend beaches were re-opened to more than just exercising, and the pent-up demand for beach activity was evident.
We got to the part where the road becomes a trail alongside a stream. Ever since a couple monk seals had been reportedly hauled out along this stretch of beach a few weeks ago, I’ve started carrying my binoculars and wading the stretch of two-feet-deep stream water to make it to the actual beach. As soon as I started carrying the binoculars and checking for seals, none have showed up. At least, none have been sleeping on this beach while I was there.
Yesterday, we made the last obscured bend of the trail to see several pop-up tents on the sand right at the stream mouth. I walked up to the spot where I usually slide off my slippers and step down into the stream and paused.
“Do you want to cross?” I asked Eric.
He shook his head. But then he saw someone he knew and called across the stream. The guy turned around and with a look of recognition, he started to move toward us in a way of greeting that I knew would end with his hand clamped around Eric’s. But, then, he stopped. The stream was in the way. So, instead, they just chatted over the water.
Phew. That was close.
I belong to a women’s nonfiction book club, and we meet monthly. The past two months, we’ve met virtually, and, honestly, it was great. We ate. We drank—beer or wine or sparkling water. And we discussed books—April it was Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman, and May it was Joy Harjo’s Conflict Resolutions for Holy Beings. I recommend both books; each opened me to new thoughts and ideas, a few of those thoughts and ideas, even, shook my foundation of being.
It wasn’t just the books that were good. Our discussions felt more thoughtful and inclusive than we’ve ever experienced before. No one person got left out because another was more talkative. But there were also fewer one-on-one side conversations, the kind that deepen friendships.
At the close of last week’s online gathering, someone suggested we meet in person next month and everyone else chimed in in agreement. Everyone except me. I was silent.
Last Friday, a good friend suggested we meet at the beach over the weekend.
“Are we ready for that?” I asked.
In the end, we didn’t meet, and it looks like our book club will meet in June online once again. Neither did Eric and I take a Sunday drive to Ke’e, mostly because I realized how busy the beach and nearby Kalalau Trail would likely be. Friends’ social media posts on Saturday were proof of that.
For some reason, I’m not ready to resume socializing. On the one hand, Kauai has probably not been this “safe” for decades, maybe centuries. We have no active cases on the island. There are very very few people entering the island. But on the other hand, best available science tells we’re not in the clear yet. There will be a second wave. Maybe I’ve learned I’m a hermit at heart and, really, not a people-person.
But keep this in mind: I am a woman who has recently made friends with a spider. Is that coloring my thinking here?
What about you? How are you feeling about re-engaging with people outside your home or place of shelter?
The state of Hawaii added zero new cases to our statewide total. As of today, we have 49 active cases and a total of 640 COVID-19 cases. I’m also thinking about a close family member who passed over the weekend–not of COVID-19. Rest well, Big Don.