by | May 13, 2012 | Uncategorized | 10 comments

 Doing Tai Chi on the beach, this cool morning, I find myself reflecting on permanence – as in the rock. and transience – as in the autumn leaf.
My old school teacher awakened my creativity with puppet-making & shows, singing, drawing, and decorating. He gave me shelter in the loving ambiance of his classroom at a country school where bullying was the norm. He awakened aroha – love – for Maori culture, its language, stick games, songs and stories. All of this is permanent, and solid like the rock.
But the leaf of his life is curling up and losing its glow.

Before leaving the beach, I made a shrine of remembrance. Now, as I look at the photo, I see that I selected 14 white shells, one for each year of my growing up in Taranaki. The large scallop is for my teacher, and the small scallop for me, who will survive him and carry the tales, until I too am taken like a leaf in the wind.


  1. Lynley

    Your symbols express your story here so well Juliet.

    As for bullying, it does seem to be an issue here in New Zealand that we struggle to improve.

    Our sub-conscious can be so powerful can’t it? 14 beautiful scallop shells picked up, the precise number for your growing up years in Taranaki

  2. juliet

    My unconscious certainly did its work, Lynley. It’s been good to see the Herald’s series on bullying, and the amount of awareness that is being raised. Thank you for your comments.

  3. lifeonthecutoff

    This is beautiful, Juliet, and brought a tug on my heart. What a remarkable teacher. What a remarkable student.
    My thoughts are flowing to you with my prayers.

    Bullying is an issue here as well. It has always been an issue, but the internet makes it all the more taunting and daunting to curb.

  4. cecilia g

    Lovely Juliet. Your meditation on the beach must be s stunning way to begin a day.. such hope in your shell piece.. c

  5. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – such an evocative peaceful post .. I can imagine your setting and that with your teacher .. somehow it brings reflections to me.

    Interesting take on the autumnal leaf, the rock of our lives, and those shells for the years, his future, your future and our future …
    Love the Tai Chi thought – cheers Hilary

  6. juliet

    Penny, thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

    Cecilia, the beach is a quiet and refreshing place to begin the day, and there’s no-one else there in the morning.

    Hilary, I like what you say about the leaf, rock and the different futures.

    Thank you all for visiting, and for your comments. I feel well supported at this tender time.

  7. Hotly Spiced

    I had a Maori teacher in Standard 4 and it was so wonderful to be exposed to the Maori culture – but I didn’t think I was being exposed, I thought learning the Haka and playing stick games and swinging pois were the norm! Sounds like you had a great childhood in Taranaki. My father’s mother grew up in Taranaki and her brother, Douglas Stewart, wrote a book about it called, ‘Springtime in Taranaki’ – it’s a lovely book. Great post Juliet and I’m sorry your teacher is now so unwell xx

  8. juliet

    Hi Charlie, weren’t we lucky? and like you I didn’t realise how special it was at the time. I’ll look out for Douglas Stewart’s book – thanks for telling me about it. Mine is called ‘Touching Snow: A Taranaki Memoir’. Thank you for your good wishes.

  9. Anne Dean Ruffell

    Finding time to be still and reflect is so difficult in the busy lives we lead these days but it is so important that we do so. I like to walk with a wide open landscape to clear my mind. Collecting the shells and making your shrine of remembrance was a wonderful way for you to concentrate on memories of your inspirational teacher.

  10. juliet

    thank you Anne, it certainly helped to settle me and connect with what is happening.


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