Winter Fire

Winter Fire

How do you maintain your inner fire at winter solstice, when thunderclouds rumble through the sky and cloudbursts drench the air, bringing plummeting temperatures that set you shivering?   If you are in the northern hemisphere, you will soon be celebrating summer...

The space between seasons

The space between seasons

The song of the tui had changed. As I walked up the steps to my bach, I took time to pause and listen. No chortles, gurgles or rasps. The tui were singing a clear song, just two notes, one long and one short, with a rising inflection.     This was new. I’d never...

Honouring Last Light

Honouring Last Light

    My granddaughter and I wandered through the park, picking up anything that was dying or dead: tiny pine cones that had been shaken down in the storm before they had ripened, mature cones, silvery sticks, autumn leaves, maple seed balls and more. Here, on the...

Gathering Pearls

Gathering Pearls

The Queen of England said a surprising thing recently. She was being interviewed for a BBC documentary as she watched film footage of her 1953 Coronation.   Out came the crown jewels, and as the Queen held two pearls in her hand, that were said to have belonged to the...

Equinox turning

Equinox turning

  The woman sitting next to me at the concert pulled a paper bag out of her handbag. ‘Would you like two pears from my tree?’ This was rather surprising, first as I knew her only slightly and hadn't seen her for two decades. Second, we were sitting on pews in a church...

Preserving and giving

Preserving and giving

  I was on a quest. At first it seemed a simple enough thing to ask: who does home preserving, and has jars of produce that I might photograph?     What would you have said? A few replies arrived on Facebook. Avrael has preserved 17 jars of pears and some apricots,...

First Fruits

First Fruits

    As First Fruits arrives, I am aware of how much ripening is taking place in nature. This is the season when I enjoy luscious tastings of apricots, nectarines, plums and blueberries. It feels wondrous that the sun's warmth can be stored in such a juicy form. I feel...

Rhythms of creativity

Rhythms of creativity

    My creative spirit is breathing more freely, reaching more deeply, stimulated and revived by two things: immersion in nature, and connection with children. The summer outflow, or the winter drawing-in — both take us beyond our usual edges and into new awareness.  ...

Solstice Blessing 2017

Solstice Blessing 2017

    Imagine if . . . at this time of year, for every person who is speeding up, disconnecting and behaving erratically . . . there is someone who is slowing down, connecting deeply to the still centre within, and taking special care. Imagine what the lead up to summer...

Two kinds of solstice

Two kinds of solstice

    As we approach the sacred time of solstice I am holding hands across the world with my northern hemisphere readers. On December 22, it will be summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, and winter solstice in the north. It is time to celebrate both. Solstice is...

Stability in springtime

Stability in springtime

    A tui is singing, persistently from the top of the flame tree. It's one of those bird calls that proclaims 'all is well.'   It's a reassuring message in this wild and changeable spring. After weeks of rain and wind, suddenly it seemed as if summer had pounced in...

Kiss of spring

Kiss of spring

  Does your garden talk to you? Reach out to touch you, even? I was weeding and removing dying leaves from the spring bulbs that were well past their best. Only a few weeks ago the freesias were bursting with fragrance and blossom. Now the flowers were gone and the...

How to grow again

How to grow again

    Sometimes the rhythm of a different season takes over. I've been resting after surgery for an injury to my knee. This slides me back into a kind of winter quiet, even as the outer season is bursting with activity and new growth. The enforced rest gives me leisure,...

Equinox across the world

Equinox across the world

    I walked into a wind that was so strong it took all my strength to go forward. To my left, the sea was whipping up white horses. When I finally turned, it was a relief to feel the hand of the wind in the small of my back, helping me home. A black cloud covered the...

Fresh start

Fresh start

Spring is here—Te Koanga—and with it, the chance to make a fresh start. Is there a fresh start calling you?     Maybe you’d like to freshen up your home, or a special relationship. Maybe you need to revive your energy and enthusiasm for life.   What Nature teaches If...

Seasons of Creativity

Seasons of Creativity

  After the shift of the sun at First Light, and the beginning of warmer weather, I've been drawn outside to make nature art again.   I found myself making little nests from pohutukawa leaves, and placing white stones into them. Often it's only after working...

Do  trees sleep?

Do trees sleep?

  What do trees and grizzly bears have in common? According to forester Peter Wohlleben, who wrote The Hidden Life of Trees, bears prepare for hibernation by eating and eating to grow fat and sustain themselves for months of sleep with no food. And would you believe...

Winter words

Winter words

Caught   I found a poem caught in a tree   fluttering like a leaf,   struggling to fly free     Oh kite of many colours, You strayed  into the season of stark   You must wait now for the season of flight     when the light returns and greening loosens all ties    ...

Matariki today

Matariki today

As I've been walking the shoreline, clearing dead tomato stems from my garden, and gathering firewood in the bush, I've been pondering on this question:     Why is Matariki is the first Maori festival to be celebrated with enthusiasm by Pakeha and Maori alike?   The...

Preparing for winter

Preparing for winter

    Does the idea of preparing for winter seem an odd concept to you? If it does, let me remind you that you may know more about this than you think. People have always prepared for winter through the acts of harvest, storage and containment.   Preparing for winter is...