Story by Diane Haynes Woodburn
Welcome to 2013. And congratulations — we survived the end of the world. That harrowing event, predicted on the Mayan calendar for December 21, 2012, has passed. Whew!
At least I think so. As I write this column, it’s still November. But I’m optimistic. Besides, my son Michael is getting married in the spring, and I’ve already bought a dress.
I’ve also already been to one End of the World gala this year.
That’s not what it was planned as. The Noble Chef, a fundraiser for the Maui Culinary Academy, is one of the biggest parties of the year. Some 350 of us had just been seated for dinner in the ballroom of the Fairmont Kea Lani when General Manager Charles Head, in his distinguished British accent, made the announcement: “We have a tsunami warning.”
Our three-hour event turned into a sixty-minute blitz. Over the scrape of chairs, the clack of cell phones, the nervous laughter of nonbelievers, it was now my turn, as a sponsor for the evening, to address the audience. “Perhaps the tsunami will bring an even greater wave of support,” I began, struggling to be clever. I had the effect of an activities director organizing shuffleboard on the Titanic. This ship was sinking.
Like lightening, the staff had our dinners on the table, our auctioneer conducted the fastest live auction in Noble Chef history, and before one could say “Wave? What wave?” the curtains of the adjoining ballroom opened to reveal a dessert extravaganza fit for royalty. Bonbons, custards, puddings and cookies, cakes, ice cream, tarts and chocolate, liqueurs, coffees and icebergs of whipped cream beckoned. A three-piece ensemble played valiantly while heroic servers calmly dispensed life-saving take-home containers. In orderly but expeditious fashion, we dismantled the bounty. While the band played on, we clutched our boxed chocolates to our breasts, and fled for higher ground.
And then . . . nothing. Kahului received the highest wave in the state that night: about two feet above ambient sea level. In Wailea, on Maui’s lee, we got — zilch.
That’s not true, of course. We did get something: the gift of another safe dawn, and a changed perspective to appreciate it. Did you know that the Mayan calendar is shaped like a wheel? At the end of the cycle it’s not over, it begins again.
Perhaps 2013 is our invitation to begin again, to reconsider the possibilities, and see the world with new perspective. Predictions from the Chinese Paht Chee chart suggest that in 2013, the Year of the Snake, “a new peace will fill the year . . . goodwill is abundant.”
In this issue of Maui No Ka ‘Oi, we offer stories that celebrate new beginnings, and challenge us to see ourselves and the world around us with new perspective. Consider Maui artist Douglas Chun, who at age eighty is exploring new artistic expression, honoring his creative spirit at a time when most people assume theirs is finished. Paul Wood’s story on kupuna shows us the Hawaiian perspective on aging, wisdom and responsibility, as well as the belief that death does not break the connection with the living.
In “Fathoming a Mystery,” Whale Trust cofounder Meagan Jones reports that we’ve only plumbed the surface of understanding humpback whale behavior, including the hidden meaning of their haunting songs. And Lehia Apana follows a surfer, a standup paddler, and a diver on a nocturnal quest to discover what awakens in “The Night Ocean.”
From the world of luxury to the domain of the ancestors, from the ocean floor to the creative psyche, the possibilities are here to explore, to embrace, and appreciate.
I hope you aren’t disappointed that we may have to wait another millennium for the West Coast to slip into the sea. We have a lot of living to do. Besides, I already bought the dress.
Happy New Year.
Diane Haynes Woodburn
Publisher, Maui No Ka ‘Oi