The holiday park where we stayed in KeriKeri is surrounded by a mix of native bush and Australian gums.

The gums are mature, and magnificent. Their bark has peeled long ago and the trunks are smooth and white, like new skin.
In the morning, as we were eating our breakfast outside in the sun, we heard the call of the shining cuckoo, coming from high in the tree tops.

This cuckoo, the pipiwharauroa (meaning ‘the long journey’ in Maori), is the traditional messenger of spring, telling everyone to start planting. It migrates to the western edge of the Pacific in winter and when it returns its high pitched song brings the return of life and growth.

My arm felt rather like those gum trees over the last 6 weeks, encased as it was in its stiff bark. But two days ago it was set free. I was surprised to discover how tender and sore my wrist was after the plaster had been sawn off. It feels like a new leaf, still soft and without much movement, folded back on itself.
Even so, I feel I’ve been set free, and when I heard the shining cuckoo yesterday, back here in the city, a thrill raced through me at the sound of its happy song.