As this issue goes to press, Hawai‘i is hunkering down in expectation of Hurricane Douglas. My husband, Jamie, and I spent the better part of yesterday battening down the hatches, as did most Hawai‘i residents. Outdoor furniture is secured, windows reinforced and in some cases boarded up. An army of water jugs lines my kitchen counter, looking like barrel-chested sentries.
Flashlights, check. Transistor radio, check. Sourdough starter, check, check! If all else fails, we will have bread, even if I have to bake it in the BBQ.
The morning sky is gray and rain is beginning to come down. Our big Australian shepherds are curled up on their beds (including a favorite overstuffed armchair). I set to work making a pot of chili large enough to feed a small army, while Jamie creates a makeshift factory on our kitchen table to assemble olive fruit-fly traps.
Yes, you heard right. Olive fruit-fly traps. Over the years, I’ve watched my husband evolve from gentleman gardener to “Jamie Olive Seed,” planting and nurturing more than 2,000 olive trees. He has battled weeds, wind, insects, drought, axis deer — even pigs. And he has prevailed, mostly. One thing we have learned over the years is that the best efforts of man are no match for nature. A storm can change everything. As can a virus.
While Jamie prepares his arsenal of tin pans and fly bait, hoping against the odds that the storm will not devastate the fruit he is trying to protect, all the rest of us, whether far-flung throughout the continents of the world, or here on this protected archipelago 2,400 miles from the nearest landmass, persevere through the greater storm of Covid 19.
Our hearts go out to those who have suffered the loss of loved ones, the many more who have fallen ill, the myriad small businesses and restaurants that have had to close, and the hundreds of thousands who have lost their jobs and economic security. It’s a devastating storm that continues to ravage. And yet, it has brought out the best in us. To those who have shared their strength and humanity in caring for our communities and each other, we say mahalo.
In this special Island Living issue of Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi, we celebrate what has endured and what we hold close, honoring Maui’s frontline workers through the empathetic eyes of photographer Ladini Conder; sharing the resilience of a beach house knocked down by a tsunami, then reborn to become the center of multigenerational family life; and congratulating Lynn Shue on her galleries’ fiftieth anniversary. Village Galleries has survived—and thrived—when so many others did not, through Lynn’s love of art and her joy in nurturing emerging artists. The island itself attests to survival; our cover story explores a hushed and protected landscape that emerged from the devastation of Pele’s fiery volcano. Here, amid the gnarled fingers of sharp, inhospitable lava, blue tide pools and anchialine ponds reveal their treasures of rare and fragile creatures. Proof that life is a continuum.
The chili is simmering nicely. Jamie’s tabletop assembly line is nearing completion, and the hurricane . . . is dissipating. Instead of punishing rains, the sky is leaking sunlight and throwing a veil of red and pink across scattering storm clouds.
Tomorrow, Jamie and I will walk the orchard, and take heart in the knowledge that storms do pass. The power and miracles of nature shape our lives, and, as any farmer’s wife would know, it can all change in a moment. But what won’t change is the beauty that abounds, and the aloha we carry in our hearts. This endures.
We at Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi are privileged to share our aloha with you. Chili, anyone?
A hui hou
Diane Haynes Woodburn