Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

I haven’t joined the Tree Love crew since January, so a post is long overdue. As summer comes to an end here in New Zealand, I wanted to share a tree I loved on my last picnic. We went to this spot twice in March, and the first time I sat under this particular tree. There is a wooden seat there, though the next time we sat on the grass. It – and the others that rimmed the cove – provided welcome shade from the midday sun and NZ’s harsh cancer-causing UV rays, as we nibbled on summer picnic fare (bacon and egg pie), watched what was happening on the water – ferries, coastguard patrol, kayakers, snorkellers etc – and just enjoyed the tranquillity of this sheltered bay.

It is of course a pohutukawa.

And just to put it in context, here are some photos of and from the bay.

Another in the Tree Love series – find all the other bloggers doing it here.

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We’ve had a very windy spring, and on calm days it has either been raining, or there have been reasons why I haven’t had time to walk. So I have spent a lot of time exercising inside, as my ears hurt and my eyes stream if I walk in the wind. I use a selection of videos, and have recently found one that steps and dances to Latin music, which has been fun (but made me feel very uncoordinated). So today, when I had the morning free, and there was absolutely no wind, I took a longer walk outside for the first time in ages. I didn’t puff up the hills, and my legs weren’t sore, so my inside dance and high-intensity-low-impact workouts have been paying off.

I didn’t walk over the hill to look down into the harbour, but instead wound my way around the back streets, avoiding the village shops (and café, so I wasn’t tempted by a coffee), and renewing my acquaintance with the gardens that have moved from their colourful spring flourishes into the lush green of early summer. The morning light was soft, but lit the branches of cabbage trees and pohutukawa highlighting their wiggly patterns and making me smile.

I smiled too as I passed the local kindergarten, to see the gate closed, and four little boys standing peering through the iron bars, looking just like mini-prisoners. Their freedom will come soon, as we move into the summer holidays next week.

The first blooms are appearing on the pohutukawa too, though most are still a few weeks away from “full pohutukawa.” After days of gloomy mist, the vibrancy of the red was a happy reminder that this year is ending, and a new year is about to begin. I’m not sure how we got here so soon. But after the gloom of the last two years, I’m ready to be hopeful about next year.

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A mountain walk

In November last year I visited Tongariro National Park around the three volcanoes in the very middle of the North Island. We enjoyed it so much, that this week we went back. The weather was perfect for us, so we went on rather longer walks than we did last time (when we were dodging showers). We were above 1100 metres altitude, staying in the North Island’s main ski village, and in a volcanic area, so the only trees were the pockets of mountain beech we walked through along the banks of a couple of the streams. The shade was welcome, and the sounds of the birds singings and the trickle of streams was calming, and it all made the walking easier. There’s something about walking in New Zealand bush that is meditative. As long as we keep our attention on where our feet are going!

Another in the Thursday Tree Love series – find all the other bloggers doing it here.

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