I’ve just spent a weekend at the beautiful Mana Retreat on the Coromandel Peninsula, where I led a winter solstice ritual for the community and helpers who had gathered for a big working bee.
On Sunday I had time for replenishment. At Mana, there are many choices. On this day I felt fit, and as the mist cleared, I decided to walk up the mountain.

In the still rhythm of walking, I could hear the mountain guiding me.

‘Take a staff,’ it said. ‘This will steady you.’
I had forgotten to pick one up from the big basket as I left, so I needed to search amongst the trees. The mountain had a staff ready and waiting (not one of the soft punga trunks in this photo, but a tough kanuka pole),

and it was true, the staff gave me steadiness as the path ascended steeply and at times it was hard to find a foothold.

‘Pause to notice what’s here’, said the mountain. Native flowers are quiet, not flamboyant. They are mostly white, because of being pollinated by moths at night. I paused, and discovered rangiora about to burst into flower.

‘You will be supported,’ said the mountain, and so I was, with a sign just as I was feeling lost, or a foothold cut into a steep part, when I was faltering.
‘And when you think you have reached the top, know that it is not really the top.
Take some breaths and gather more energy.’
‘Now is the time to stop and rest.’

‘Lifted high above dwellings and roads, ¬†bushes and tree tops, up in the realm of bird song, pause to drink in a new perspective.’

To descend from such a height is sometimes more challenging than to ascend. In my next post, I will tell you how the mountain guided me, and what I found. But for now, dear reader, we have climbed enough. Take a rest with me, and enjoy the view.