What are your rituals of arrival, when you come to a special place?  Last weekend as I crunched along the gravel path and up the brick steps to the bach, I became aware of mine.

Between carrying in the first and second loads from the car, I found myself pausing to pull a few weeds from the path — not as in ‘working’, but as in greeting the land, and making a promise to tend it once more when I’d settled in.

Between the second load and the third, I made a detour up the steps to dead-head the cornflowers, as a way of saying, ‘hello, I’m so glad that you are still flowering. You are beautiful.’ It was but a small diversion from there to visit the tomato plants and pinch out a few laterals.

After the fifth load I pick a fresh kawakawa leaf while the kettle boils. And after the sixth load it’s time to pause for my cup of tea, and to taste the fresh fruit I bought on the way out. Big sigh of relief. I have arrived.

Unpacking can wait till later.

For now, creative ideas flock in, fluttering like butterflies around my head. I pull out my writer’s notebook, and begin to write this blog to you, dear readers. So you come with me, you see, as my heart opens to receiving the blessings of nature, like these calling cards from the kereru (wood pigeon), that have been dropped at intervals along the pathways.

I take my tea outside and sip contentedly, listening to the wind shaking secrets through the foliage, and the penetrating ki-ki-ki of a kingfisher spearing up from the nearby stream. I think of Jane Duncan Rogers, who wrote recently about arriving at a beach hut in Scotland, in the cold of winter, and Joan Anderson, who took a year by the sea at Cape Cod, and all those women who face the bravery of retreat.

From Virginia Woolf’s room of one’s own, to beach huts, cottages, baches, boats, and other hideaways around the world, where women escape to soothe their souls and wait for the wellspring to fill again, it seems I am not alone. I am a bead on a long loose string that encircles the world, and loops around times past, present and future.

In solitude and silence, the magnificence of nature is most deeply felt.