Tag Archives: joy

A book I have enjoyed

I’ve just finished a book called “Syd Arthur” by Ellen Frankel. It is a book I have really enjoyed reading. It has some very funny moments but underneath the lightness there has been some juicy learning for me.

As well as a good book there is a piece at the end about Pearlsong Press, the publishers, that I think is worth copying here:

“Pearlsong Press is an independent publishing company dedicated to providing books and resources that entertain while expanding perspectives on the self and the world. The company was founded by Peggy Elam, Ph.D., a psychologist and journalist, in 2003.

Pearls are formed when a piece of sand or grit or other abrasive, annoying, or even dangerous substance enters an oyster and triggers its protective response. The substance is coated with shimmering opalescent nacre (“mother of pearl”), the coats eventually building up to produce a beautiful gem. The self-healing response of the oyster thus transforms suffering into a thing of beauty.

The pearl-creating process reflects our company’s desire to move outside a pathological or “disease” based model of life, health and well being into a more integrative and transcendent perspective. A move out of suffering into joy. And that, we think, is something to sing about.”

www.pearlsong.com www.authorellenfrankel.com

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Energy fields

I was at a friend’s place getting ready to leave yesterday when the big southerly blew in, bringing with it a dramatic thunderstorm. Standing on her doorstep watching the sleety hail pelt down I was about to make a dash for my car when lightning struck and immediately the sound exploded around and through us. We use a term “a clap of thunder” but that was no description for what we experienced. The energy discharged was huge and hit us in waves and the strike was extremely loud. My ears felt deafened by it and they took some time to recover.

We decided that 2011 has seen a new normal here in New Zealand with dramatic natural events, including weather changes now being something we have to manage.

I had intended to post today about energy but it is a vastly different experience of energy. On our recent holiday trip to Pukaha we were aware that along one of the paths there was a stand of Californian Redwood trees. We had enjoyed being amongst these trees on Te Mata Peak, Havelock North so it was exciting to come across a large stand amidst the native bush of the wildlife centre.

We simply stepped less than a metre down a gentle incline off the path and felt as if we had gone through a force field into an entirely different world. Without any communication both my daughter and I spread out our arms and turned around as we felt the changed energy. We looked at each other in acknowledgement of what we had both felt simultaneously. It proved very difficult to find words to describe what we were feeling.

The air felt cooler, very still and serene. It was, as if, we had stepped out of one world and into another vastly different one in the space of 3 or 4 paces. There was a lightness and joy to the energy. High above us in the tops of the Redwoods was a group of noisy Kakas busily tearing at the fibrous bark to find insects to eat, providing some familiarity.

Redwoods at Pukaha, Wairarapa, New Zealand

I have done a little Google searching today to find out more about Californian Redwoods in an attempt to discover why we felt such a shift in energy when we were amongst the giant trees. These magnificent trees can live for up to 3000 years and have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. The tallest specimen in the world stands 6 stories higher than the Statue of Liberty. They have the ability to sprout from root stock as well as from seed. A fallen or cut Redwood can provide nutrients to a circle of new redwoods. One variety is named Sequoia Sempervirens or Sequoia Everlasting. The life force is very very powerful in these trees.

Druids consider Redwoods excellent at drawing down power from heaven to earth.

So they are remarkable trees and they seem to like our climate here in New Zealand, where they have been planted for many years now as a source of hard work timber.
It was very easy to spend time among these special trees, soaking up this extraordinary energy and we certainly felt the shift back into the real world as we returned to the nearby path.

Kaka Circus!

“Kaka Circus 3pm” announced the brochure about Pukaha, Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre.

New Zealand Kaka

I had first encountered Kaka in the wild on Kapiti Island, another Wildlife sanctuary. Kaka are inquisitive, bold, birds, full of antics and tricks. So I was very excited about seeing more Kaka and the advertised circus. I was not disappointed!

We arrived at the area in the bush set aside for the circus ahead of 3pm to find that the Kaka were already gathering for feeding time. The trees and feeding stands were alive with noisy, energetic birds.

With two cameras between three of us we got some great photos of these fascinating and funny birds. The absolute highlight for me was when one of the Kaka was happy enough to come close to me and nipped at my hand, my jacket and my camera case. Believe me they have a powerful beak. I was even more delighted when one of the Kaka alighted on my head. My daughter was well positioned with her camera and had observed this bird eyeing me up so had turned her camera to video. I have a wonderful video record of the bird flapping down and taking me by surprise as it landed on my head, turned around and then flew off again. That was an experience I will not ever forget. It was very, very special. As I have mentioned in other posts I love our native birds and to get up so close and personal was extraordinarily good.

The staff member told us about the food they provide for the Kaka. Nuts, seeds, apples, fruit, corn on the cob and fluid feeders full of diluted strawberry jam. Kaka enjoy nectar like many of our native birds and they relished drinking from those at the feeding spot.

The Kaka population in the centre has grown dramatically thanks to management plans and supplementary feeding. These birds can all fly freely but are smart enough to know where the extras are provided

The following information is from the Department of Conservation website: http://www.doc.govt.nz
The kākā is a large parrot belonging to the nestorinae family, a group that includes the cheeky kea and the extinct Norfolk Island kākā.
The birds are mainly diurnal but are active at night during fine weather or a full moon. Flocks of boisterous kākā gather in the early morning and late evening to socialise – their amusing antics and raucous voice led the Maori to refer to them as chattering and gossiping.
Here is a link to more Facts about the Kaka. http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/birds/land-birds/kaka/facts/

I had a memorable and magical experience at the Kaka circus and in my next post about the Redwoods at Pukaha I will mention the chattering and gossiping Kaka again.

Cool Kokako

I am particularly fond of our native North Island Kokako and its beautiful fluting song. Here is the brief information that our Department of Conservation provides about the Kokako on its website:

“North Island kōkako

The kōkako belongs to the endemic New Zealand wattlebirds (Callaeidae), an ancient family of birds which includes the North and South Island saddleback and the extinct huia.
The kōkako is the only member of its family still surviving on the mainland. A dark bluish-grey bird with a long tail and short wings, it has a pair of brightly coloured, fleshy “wattles” extending from either side of its gape to meet below the neck.
The North Island kōkako has blue wattles, while the South Island kōkako has orange or yellow wattles. The bird is not particularly good at flying and prefers to use its powerful legs to leap and run through the forest.”
My earlier experience of a Kokako in the wild was when I visited Kapiti Island (a wildlife sanctuary) and as I trudged up the steep terrain that day I was stopped in my tracks by the unique melodious song coming from far across the gully. Prior to that I had only heard recordings of this lovely song.

So I was delighted to discover that there was a Kokako in captivity at Pukaha, Mt Bruce, when we visited there recently. This bird was recovered from the wild after it was blown out of its nest as a young fledgling and was hand reared. It is the only one in captivity and must remain in an aviary in order to survive.

Kokako at Mt Bruce

It was such a privilege to stand so close to a Kokako and to watch its movements, to hear it whistle (it had learnt to wolf whistle sadly while being hand reared) and to see its lovely plumage. With so much human contact this Kokako had not learnt to sing its natural song. However in terms of educating people this friendly, healthy bird has much to offer in terms of promoting programmes to ensure the species does not become extinct.

Kokako print

My Dad taught me so much about the native bush and the birds and wildlife in our country and for that I am very grateful. I just wish he had lived longer to see the results of programmes and sanctuaries that mean we get to see so many more of our native birds, many of whom have been on the endangered species list for a long time.

Being with the wildlife

On our recent short holiday, which now feels as if it happened a long time ago, one of the highlights for me was a visit to Pukaha, Mt Bruce. This is a wildlife centre for threatened species on the state highway north of Masterton.
www.pukaha.org.nz

Going into the NZ native bush is something that I love to do and to see our wonderful, unique native birds in their natural environment brings me great joy. So visiting Pukaha was a place I eagerly anticipated visiting.

I was not disappointed. The day was clear and sunny and the bush provided some shelter from any wind that was blowing. I could hear small birds tweeting above us and looking up into the canopy I could see some small white headed birds. We had been given a map of the centre and a guide to birds in the bush when we paid the admission, so I was able to establish that these birds were named “Whiteheads”. Their Maori name is much prettier and suits them nicely – Popokatea. They were in groups and cheeped and chattered as they fed on tiny insects amongst the leaves.

I was constantly aware of the heavy wing beats of our native pigeon, the Kereru. A staff member told me that something in the bush that the Kereru liked to eat had come into season which accounted for the numbers we saw or heard fly over our heads.

Kereru in a Kowhai tree at Pukaha, August 2011

I also heard the noisy squawks and screeches of our native Kaka, a species of parrot who were returned to this area in 1996. The great news was that numbers of Kaka had increased so much in the centre that they now all flew freely apart from two kept in an aviary due to past injuries. This pair in their aviary was lively and highly entertaining and was readily accessible for educational purposes. I will post more about the Kakas and my remarkable and memorable experience with some of them.

Cheeky, inquisitive Kaka and our camera case

We were privileged to interact with a staff member as she fed the group of Long fin eels that live in the clear, fast running water of the Bruce stream. I knew a little about these eels after viewing the films about the Pauatahanui Inlet that I posted about here. However their special story warrants a separate post too.

Our national bird the Kiwi has its own house in the bush and once our eyes grew accustomed to the dark we all enjoyed watching him forage for food and run about, at some speed at times, in his enclosure. Kiwis are endangered in the wild and much is being done to ensure this unique species is kept alive and numbers increased. Pukaha is not a predator free centre so Kiwi must be kept in the enclosure.

Within the Kiwi house we were also able to search for and find native skinks and geckos in their temperature controlled displays, native fresh water crayfish (or crawlies as I knew them in my childhood) and view the incubators that they use to hatch Kiwi eggs.

Other extraordinary birds I saw that I will post about separately were the Kokako and the Takahe and I need to write about the magical energy I felt amongst the stand of Californian Redwoods that is also part of this wonderful centre.

Californian Redwoods

While much has happened since we visited Pukaha I am still enjoying remembering what I saw there and I have many photos that chronicle this special experience.

Two and a quarter years

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life. And if that child is to keep alive an inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. – Rachel Carson

When I read this quote I immediately thought of my young grandson who is only two and a quarter years old and so full of wonder about every little thing in the world. He is so fortunate that he has parents and his extended family who share a commitment to ensure he will continue to be awed, surprised, excited and curious about the world. His interest and delight is contagious and uplifting.