Diane Haynes Woodburn
I love gardening. It’s an exercise of nurturing tenderness and merciless aggression. Out with the bad, in with the good. Armed with trowel, clippers and a saw-toothed sickle, I am warrior! Magazine deadlines, anal-retentive editors, self-indulgent publisher’s notes and revenue goals that would daunt a Sisyphus . . . are all mere trifles in this haven of earth, weeds, and flowers.
In one corner of my garden is a Cecil Bruner rosebush. My husband planted it at my mother’s request near the end of her life. True to its honoree, it loves attention. It has spread its branches wider and has grown more tangled than any other rosebush in the garden. Sometimes I sit in our shabby-chic Adirondack, in the shadow of that rosebush, and I talk to her. That’s another reason I love gardening. It reminds me that life is a continuum—deadlines not withstanding.
I was reminded of that continuum just last night, when by happy chance, I saw a face from my past. The woman walked right up to me. “You look exactly the same!” she smiled. I hadn’t seen Laurel and her husband in thirty-seven years. We were younger than our children are, when we last saw each other, yet the years gone were insignificant compared to the joy of reuniting.
Entertained by our reminiscing, Laurel’s daughter asked, “How did you come to live on Maui?” The spark of adventure I saw in her eyes kindled more memories. I came to Maui when I was twenty-five years old, with literally nothing: a backpack, naive determination, and a very poor sense of direction. My first lu‘au was a result of my getting lost in Hana. I arrived at the community event painfully aware of my outsider status, and yet it all felt familiar. Music, laughter, food—it was the dynamic of ‘ohana (family) that I recognized. Far away from my own relatives, far away from the friends I had left behind, I fell in love with an island.
More than thirty years since that lu‘au, I realize I’m still in love. In this, our Best of Maui issue, we bring you myriad reasons why I’m not alone in this love affair. Shannon Wianecki’s “Shaka List” reveals why waking up in paradise every day is just the cherry on top: from the scent of mangoes ripening on the backyard tree, to polo tournaments Upcountry, or perhaps your first slack-key guitar concert—find out why this island really rocks. But more than that, you’ll meet some great Mauians. Three “Leading Ladies” who have made it big in the restaurant industry tell their own stories. And ten more Mauians, “Intriguing People” all, tell us what they think is the right thing to do. Agree with them or not, we never doubt their commitment to planting what they believe are the best seeds for Maui’s future.
As I lean back to stretch, covered in dirt and sweat and the satisfaction of once again saving Mother’s rosebush, it’s clear to me what I love most about Maui—our sense of connection: to our past, to our island culture and environment, most importantly, to each other. The heart, I realize, is its own garden. Roots take hold and never really perish.
A hui hou,
Diane Haynes Woodburn
Publisher, Maui No Ka ‘Oi