A Wing and a Prayer


Story by Diane Haynes Woodward


“What are you doing?” My husband, Jamie, asks. I’m standing on our deck in Kula, watching the fog roll up the hill, casting a veil of cloud over what were blue skies moments ago.

I almost tell him how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling. These last months have taken a toll on all of us, and holiday planning seems a bit daunting as we navigate our way between the Scylla and Charybdis of COVID-19 and a challenging economy.

“I’m watching our plover,” I say instead.

From our deck I have a bird’s-eye view of the property, and have been following the zigzag progress of our annual visitor. I love that guy. Each year I’m afraid I won’t see him again, but here he is, strutting around our lawn, as casual as he can be.

In autumn, Pacific golden plovers (kōlea in Hawaiian) leave their Alaskan habitat to winter in these islands, faithfully returning to their own particular patch of grass. Toward late spring, we keep a watchful eye on our kōlea as his brown-and-gold plumage morphs to a rich black coat with a white breast. Once outfitted in his tundra-proof tuxedo, he will leave. But for now, he is our welcome guest.

“Take a walk; it will clear your head,” Jamie advises. And I do.

As I crest the first hill, sunlight breaks through the mist, and the scent of pine greets me. As our plover attests, winter has come to Kula. I inhale the cool air, and scan the trees for cones. I imagine others around the world enjoying similar simple pleasures. That’s what I wish for, and the thought brings a sense of renewal and connection.

And I realize, with just a little pride and a lot of gratitude, why our Best of Maui/Holiday issue is so important a tradition. In these pages, we reflect on and rejoice in the beauty and spirit of our island life. We hope, as you read them, these stories bring that feeling of connection to you.

Let me unwrap a few examples: For more than a decade, our “Shaka List” has been sharing the many reasons to love Maui—twenty-five of them here, hundreds more in our archives at MauiMagazine.net.

And what would a holiday issue be without food? Our dining editor, Becky Speere, brings four fabulous chefs to the table to share some of their family favorites. Whether you are planning a family feast or Chateaubriand for two, we’ve got you covered, a generous serving of love in every recipe.

Speaking of love. . . we are particularly proud to present our Made in Maui Gift Guide. Wherever you may live, we invite you to place a bit of Maui under your tree, with aloha.

Ancient Hawaiians understood well the adage “there is a season for everything.” In Teya Penniman’s story about Makahiki, you’ll learn the wisdom of their reverence. When the Pleiades rose in the eastern sky, this season of renewal and abundance began. War and labor ceased. It was a time for thankfulness and peace.

Returning home in the lifting mist, I see our kōlea still roaming the lawn, and realize why I look forward to his arrival each fall. His presence is part of the continuum of life that restores my faith in the future. Seasons change, but, as my father would say, life continues.

May your holiday table be resplendent with love, friendship, and laughter.

A hui hou,
Diane Haynes Woodburn


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