Sunny days and summer are replacing November’s stormy days and rain, the skies now expansive and blue and promising holidays and happiness and rekindling our wish for our Christmas havens, our bachs and cabins by lakes and seasides in far away places. And now these evening sunsets with their wonderful palette of colors, the high up mare’s tails of thin cloud, their wind-brushed skeins of cirrus turning gold and apricot and copper then fading into dark.

A group of our Centre’s adventure-lovers took advantage of this bounty and last weekend drove to Rotorua and east over the lava-sculpted hills to Lake Tarawera – here we variously canoed across the great lake or ran the 15km Tarawera Trail to Hot Water beach and our over-night campsite. Lounging in the pools of magma heated waters, careful not to venture too close to the super heated streams that mix with the chill of the lake.
Meditating in the twilight and early dawn is always inspiring – no phones, no noise or distractions, only the lapping of water on the foreshore and the evening and dawn birdsong, not a chorus of songsters but the individual tuis and warblers competing for attention and filling the dark forest with their music. Our canoeists paddled far out before sunrise to sit in their little bubbles of plastic, feeling beneath them the slow and rhythmic undulations of the lake, its waters rising and falling like a breathing; then the incoming light and the ancient silences. Here everything falls away and only consciousness remains, awareness without thought, stillness without mind, only pure being and the elemental Self.
Later some of us returned over the Tarawera Trail, hydrating and drinking from the numerous forest streams whose waters are so pure they have pranic, healing properties – filtered by mosses, mineralized by sands and stream bed gravels, filled with energies that are restorative yet only barely understood. Over a lake as smooth as glass the remainder dawdle back in their kayaks, gliding above hundreds of metres of pristine pure water. Unhurried and languid, for the journey is the destination.  In New Zealand we are so fortunate to balance urban living with proximity to nature, to find perspective and balance and sanity in this troubling, wonder-filled, challenging world.