So far, when I have written to this blog, I have taken an idea I have begun to develop in a post somewhere, or in conversation, or a response I would like to make to another blog, and written it up until eventually it becomes a post which I then copy here. But today, we are out in the caravan, away from the city we now live, tucked away beside the bush, with the sound of the occasional truck rumbling past on the state highway nearby. And I am writing about it on my blog.
Something about being close to the bush is great, and one of the things I love about being in our caravan here is the sound of the birds all day, especially early morning and before dusk; even at night there is often the sound of a Moorpork or some other creature echoing from the bush and through the hills. The sky at night, when it is clear, is spectacular. No need for telescopes, because here is about as dark as it gets, and you can see the galactic centre or our milky way with your bare eyes on the right night, make out the lesser and large Magellanic clouds. Last night, with just the binoculars, I could make out three of Jupiter’s moons. Then, just a few yards away, there is a stream that runs past, energising the air around it with positive ions
What sets this place apart for me is the sense of tranquility that descends as soon as I get here, and I am sure it is because it is so close to the bush. Sure, at some point there’s be kids running around, trying to catch eels, bouncing on the trampoline, screaming and chasing their dogs as they chase the wild goats in the bush… but there are times when it is really peaceful, and I get hit by how there is something almost sacred about the bush, much the same as I used to with deciduous forests and oak trees in the UK
For me, this place near the bush is a place that grounds me, as much as the sea. I get glimpses of Kiwi life that suggest an unconscious integration the four primal elements – the water of the sea, streams, lakes and rivers like the Waikato; the earth of the bush, the hills, the fields of the farmsteads and the lifestyle blocks; the clean air that I breath in most places here, and which has helped cleared my lungs after many years of London and other English cities; and fire – well, at one level, there is the fire that seethes beneath the ground, forming a line that cuts through the country lengthwise, and gives rise to boiling pools of water, mudpools, geysers, and massive volcanic eruptions not that long ago – and at another level the eponymous barbecue, that link with our primal, past as hunters and gatherers, where flesh was seared above red-hot-coals, and today above the fire of LPG.
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