Yesterday, the second half of the year began and with the weather pretending to be springlike we went for a stroll along the edge of the Pauatahanui Inlet. The light from the sun was golden, the air still in sheltered spots and the temperature surprisingly mild.
Birdlife was abundant and active, although a low tide meant photographs were tricky to take, even with a zoom.
The White faced Heron was happy to show its elegant footwork once we sat down and were quiet. It appeared to have plenty of food on offer in the shallows.
This spot is a favourite for the local Kingfisher population and there were plenty about. They like to sit in the trees, scope out their next meal (mostly small mud crabs) and dive swiftly to catch it.
This one was more than happy to sit on a rock and look about. It looks very well fed! Camera gear and equipment needs to be much more elaborate than mine to get good photographs of these zippy, beautiful birds.
These flowers (Kniphofia) displayed winter warmth.
Our stroll took us past Toe Toe, which always respond to any breeze or wind blowing and can look very stream-lined and active.
Then past this tree having shed its leaves but glowing with life still. ( The strength of the prevailing wind can be seen in its shape – we really do have tree-bendy winds here)
And the light on the water was magical.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint Press.
Source: Collected Poems 1957-1982 (Counterpoint Press, 1985)
I followed the wise words of Wendell Berry and went to Pauatahanui today.
By the Inlet I found a Heron feeding….
And not a wood drake but a solitary Black Swan.
The Wild Things were calm and untaxed.
The water still and beautiful.
It was easy to breathe and calm and feel restored.
On the first anniversary of my brother’s death I visited the Wellington Botanical Gardens where he and I had left small footprints as children, visiting with our parents. And where in the mid 1970’s he left more footprints when he worked there as a gardener.
During my visit I wondered if perhaps had he stopped work and stood and enjoyed this view
Or perhaps he had rested in the summer heat under this Weeping Willow tree
Or cut this long, steep, grassy bank.
And behind me as I took these photographs was A Field of Remembrance.
866 white crosses bearing the names of Wellingtonians who were casualties of WW1 between 1914-15.
This field is but one of many that have been established around our country to commemorate those who lost their lives.
In April of 2015–2018, part of Wellington Botanic Garden will become a place to reflect on and remember those who died World War I. Sited on Salamanca Lawn, towards Salamanca Road, the Fields of Remembrance will feature replica Flanders field poppies and 866 white crosses to commemorate the Wellingtonians who died in service in 1915. We’ve worked with the Fields of Remembrance Trust to make this event possible. 10–28 April.
Gallivanta in Christchurch has posted about visiting the one in her city.
A steady trickle of quiet, sombre, reflective visitors moved amongst the crosses and spent time with their own thoughts, feeling and memories.
Pohutukawa trees are beginning to burst into flower here. They are fickle trees with their unpredictable timing, although they are generally in flower at Christmas time in New Zealand and are known as The New Zealand Christmas tree. (Metrosideros excelsa) It is not uncommon, however, to see some trees in full or partial bloom at other times during the year.
They are very individual in their flowering with a common sight being one or two trees in full bloom while others nearby remain in bud. It is also not uncommon to see an area of a large tree in full bloom while the remainder of the tree is simply leafy.
Fire engine red is the most common colour, but there are other shades of red on offer as well as a more orange toned flower.
This season we have been noticing that the yellow ones have flowered earlier and with great abundance. I particularly like their Latin name: Metrosideros excelsa “aurea”
Many stories circulate about the Pohutukawa and its flowers and how good or indifferent our summer might be according to the cycle of these trees. So far, summer has been very absent where I live so I am not hazarding even a guess about the yellow flowering varieties and what that might mean. Today the sky is finally clear blue, the sun is beating down and it is hot.
Currently we are taking such a day as a real bonus and really hoping for more of the same.
New Zealand Pohutukawa Tree (Metrosideros Excelsa) bursting into flower. It is a member of the myrtle family and grows very well in our harsh coastal conditions. Tui and other nectar feeding birds enjoy the flowers’ nectar.
When the Pohutukawa flowers it is said to mean that it is summer in New Zealand….mmmm we are waiting for that currently and that it is Christmas time…..well that is very correct.