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End of the ride for 2017 and the first year of this new column

By Staff | Dec 21, 2017

What just happened? 2017 is ending? The Earth has revolved around the sun one more time? Four seasons have come and gone? Donald Trump has served as President for one year? My daughter is two-and-a-half years old?

“How do you measure… measure a year?”

In the personal hero’s quest of my life, I can measure this year by the number of “Green Room” columns I wrote for the Lahaina News: 19. Nineteen 500- to 800-word pontifications on the environment, the ocean, West Maui, leadership and more. Back in January, I set my goal “to capture the people, places, events and issues that shape the West Maui coastal community. The mission is to entertain, to educate, and to engage, in order that we may all better celebrate, understand and shape the ocean culture we all share.”

Sometimes I did exactly this. Other times I went off script, ruminating on love, purpose or literacy. No matter what, I always had fun writing these.

I also set my goal to write a column every two weeks, but I fell off the pace! The swells of life aren’t predictable, and as I balanced family, work, surf and life, occasionally I let the column go. The swells of winter are predictable, and as the waves have been pumping for weeks on end, the sea has consumed a bit more of my focus than the blank page.

As the year winds down, here is a quick glance back at the Green Room Column Titles this year: New Column Focuses on West Maui’s Ocean Community (Jan. 5), The Proposed Polystyrene Ban Deserves Public Support (Jan. 19), Sad to Say Goodbye to SURFING (Feb. 2), Maui Leads the Nation and World in Launching Scholastic Surfing (Feb. 16), Is Sunscreen Smothering Our Reefs? (March 2), “Legends of the Bay” Keeps Alive Country Soul (March 16), West Maui Ocean is the Remedy for the Distractions of Modern Life (March 30), Where have I come from? Where am I going? Who am I? (April 13), A Man with a Message: Richard Roshon’s Life of Adventure and Service (April 27), How We Consume Our Water Matters (May 11), Legends Live on After the Last Wave (June 8), A Role Model Worthy of Our Children: Malia Cahill is Fighting for Us All (June 29), Portugal: Journey to a Proud, Coastal, Striving Nation (July 20), Aloha and Mahalo Hokule’a (Aug. 17), Wild, Serene, Alive: Preserving the Mana of Honolua (Sept. 7), Kai Lenny Shifts the Paradigm in the Water and on Land (Oct. 12), Keeping the Literary Lights on in West Maui (Nov. 2), and Maui is Magic: Winter Has Come (Nov. 23).

Thank you readers. For all of you online or on paper who took a few minutes out of your day to accompany me on my perambulations, I’m grateful. To all of you who shared a kind word or critical feedback throughout the year, thank you. I’m listening, and storing your ideas and suggestions away.

To Windsurfing Historian Chad Lyons of Branford, Connecticut, thank you for the following message: “Your recent posting is fundamentally wrong. The true inventor of Sailboarding, dubbed Windsurfing By Hoyle Schweitzer, was S. Newman Darby.” Now I know better!

To my wife and daughter, thanks for protecting a bit of time for me to sit quietly, ponder, and write. I appreciate it!

To the Lahaina News, and Mark Vieth in particular, thank you for the opportunity, flexibility and support. It took me some years living on Maui to realize how special this newspaper is. In an era of flux, change, consolidation, paradigm shifts, cost-cutting, fake news, and more, community newspapers are essential to knitting people together around common causes on a local, human scale.

We are 25,000 residents in West Maui, and another 10,000 visitors on most days, and the Lahaina News is one of the few things that connects all of these diverse people together. West Maui is lucky to have Walter Chihara, Mark, and the rest of the editorial team keeping this newspaper in everyone’s mailboxes each week. Of course, West Maui businesses keep the paper alive through advertisements, so kudos to them as well.

There are two weeks left in 2017. Time to reflect, take a breath, enjoy family time, watch the twinkle in my daughter’s eye when Santa Claus comes, and savor a wonderful year.

Catch you all in 2018. Thanks for hanging with me in the Green Room.