Story by Diane Haynes Woodburn
Happy New Year! Let’s bring this one in with a roar! It is the Chinese Year of the Tiger—the Metal Tiger to be precise. That’s me, and I’m very excited.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Tiger is the third of twelve animal signs, each ruling for twelve months. (Our last Tiger year was 1998.) There are also five elements—Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood—a different one assigned for each twelve-year cycle. Thus, the same combination of animal and element happens only once every sixty years. The last time it was the Year of the Metal Tiger was 1950, the year I was born. So, I’m thinkin’, “This is big!”
I eagerly shared my discovery with Shannon Wianecki, our associate editor, who is also a Tiger, but a different element, having been born in a different twelve-year cycle. “Yeah,” she replied with marked hesitation. “It’s going to be an interesting year.” Her comment reminded me of the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” The Metal Tiger, I have come to find out, represents a year of serious changes. Well, being the optimist we tigers are, I think that’s just the kind of year I’d welcome.
In fact, as I peruse this issue of Maui No Ka ‘Oi, I think the New Year is already showing her stripes. Like the Tiger, this issue is filled with daring, nobility and a healthy sprinkling of vanity. Catharine Lo’s story on Hawai‘i’s big-wave surfers who tackle the careening mountain of water at Jaws brings in the year with a rush of adrenalin. Spectacular photography and personal tales from our extreme watermen and women strike mythic proportions, like the epic waves they ride.
As for passion, meet Maui artist Tony Walholm, whose talent and fervent pursuit of artistic expression have translated into an elixir for survival.
The Tiger, the Chinese tell us, is also a fierce protector and a natural leader—qualities reflected in Paul Wood’s moving story of Hawai‘i’s royalty, the men and women who struggled to save their kingdom amid tragic circumstances, and left a legacy that continues to nurture their people today.
Did I mention vanity? Yes, admittedly, the Tiger loves to preen—and Shannon and I certainly purred with delight in our quest to find the best spa treatments on the island. Together, we survived pummeling, steam, hot rocks, cocoons, mud slathering, and even braved the sea. It was worth every moment to report to you what works, and where to find it. Hard work? You bet.
The Year of the Metal Tiger promises a year of hard work and great reward, the horoscopes say. It’s a time to embrace change, to forge ahead bravely and with intention. I see the Tiger in all we are doing at Maui No Ka ‘Oi; 2010 will mark the first full year of our digital magazine, online newsletter and e-blasts. We’ve been welcoming a new and younger audience to our recently expanded web site, and see changes daily in technology, media and even the definition of communication.
I believe change can be revitalizing, stimulating, bracing and surprising. We welcome it—yet we also know there are some things that never change. Our gratitude to you, our readers, is a constant. We thank you for continuing to invite us into your homes, and for allowing us the privilege of telling the stories of our island home. Mahalo nui, from our hearts to yours.
Wishing you and yours a grrrrreat New Year!
A hui hou.