One Canoe


by Diane Haynes Woodburn, Publisher

PublisherIt didn’t look good. My husband was pulling the truck up to the beach parking lot, where we would soon be unloading our one-man canoes (or one-woman, as the case may be) and launching into the ocean for a paddle. A certain cure for uncertain times. 

“It’s windy,” I said, my euphemism for “I’m scared.” Jamie actually took a moment to consider and then retorted, “It’s fine.” 

I looked at the rippling sea with trepidation and hoped for a reprieve. “This is the kind of day when you get in—and paddle straight out,” my husband advised, watching the waves for just the right moment. “Now!” I jumped in and paddled hard, straight out. 

No time to think, no time to stress, nothing to do but go. My little boat was gliding forward, over the rollers, and finally into safety past the breakers. Turning my canoe parallel to the shoreline, I headed into the wind. 

I had hoped for sunny skies and smooth water—but today it was dreary, overcast, the water chopped and splashed in my face. What if the wind gets worse? I thought. What if I huli (tip over)? Soon Jamie caught up with me and passed me. I fol- lowed in that rhythmic meditation that slowly, surely, takes me out of my head . . . and into the connective spirit of the Islands. 

I found myself smiling. I thought of my parents, my aunts, uncles, grandparents—all the old ones who are passed. I won- dered about their struggles, their constant movement forward into the wind. I felt a sweet calm in their presence. Ahead, Jamie had stopped in wait for me. “Maybe we should turn around,” I suggested hopefully, once I had caught up to him. “No way,” he said. 

“You can do this,” I heard my inner voice pushing me for- ward. I began to think of this issue of Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi and all the people who, through the current crisis, every day push forward to accomplish what yesterday might have seemed impossible. 

In this, our annual Food Issue, you will find more than a hundred ‘Aipono Award-winning restaurants as voted by you, our readers. You will meet ‘Aipono Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Chef Peter Mer- riman and the youngest Chef of the Year to date, Taylor Ponte, born and raised on Maui. In “The Good Stuff,” Becky Speere introduces us to Kids Cook with Heart, a program work- ing with kids to teach them healthier and wiser ways to nourish themselves. And in ”A Recipe for Success,” you’ll learn how UH Maui is helping food entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams. 

If it is beauty you seek, take refuge in the surreal and glori- ous tranquility found in the landscape of Haleakalā crater. And finally, immerse yourself in the incredible art of Hoaka Delos Reyes, a carver whose relationship with stone has something to teach all of us about what is essential in this life. 

Jamie once again stopped his canoe and let me catch up. “Ready to go back?” I asked. “Sure,” he agreed. 

As I turned my canoe to feel the wind on my back, I felt a sense of peace and accomplishment. “You can put in if you’re too tired,” Jamie offered, perhaps feeling just a little guilty for pushing my limits. 

“No thanks,” I said with real confidence. “I can do it.” 

As this issue goes to press, the president has declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 virus. We are told things will get worse before they get better. No matter where in the world you may live, we understand—we are all in the same canoe. And we are strongest when we paddle together. 

Mahalo to all of you who continue to paddle into the wind, every day, to keep us safe. 

A hui hou,
Diane Haynes Woodburn


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