4 January 2013

Centre of the family

Jack wrote a lovely poem at school about "I'm from...".

It started with "I'm from books like Percy Jackson, Lord of the Rings and Eragon."

It finished with "I'm from.. the salty seas of the Bay of Plenty, which holds the centre of the family."

And it does, because that's where both his parents were born. That's where we were at Christmas, and on New Years Day I climbed Mount Maunganui. It was magnificent. Is there a more beautiful place in the world? I've travelled a bit, and while a couple of places equalled it (Austrian Alps, Scottish lochs), I found nothing I liked better.

Here are some photos.

There is a native bee or two just visible above the pohutukawa
flowers, which hundreds of them were busy pollinating. I've never noticed
native bees before - they are very dark and, at a glance, like flies.
But when I looked closely I could see they weren't flies.

The pohutukawa flowers leave a red carpet when
they drop their petals. 
It was a magnificent climb. Aside from my first time noticing native bees (at least I think that's what they must have been - I've read about them before), I think I saw a tui nest! Mr or Mrs Tui was hanging around it and it looked very nest-shaped.

I realised clearly, for the first time, how even when confronted with such large-scale beauty, there is such pleasure to be had in small-scale beauty, which is often more attainable.

Then, when I got to the bottom, hot and perspiring, I plunged into this glorious sea.

It was one of my best-ever swims. Glassy water, rolling with generously-sized waves that lifted me high and flicked their breaking heads over mine, while the beautiful Mount stood watch above.

(For you, Julia.)

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