Roadside Chats (4)

Time to leave Big Bush Camp. I walk to the top of the little hillock beside the Camper; join my hands in prayer and thank sea, sand & bush.

Looking out over the ocean I notice a large flock of birds wheeling about a small moving white patch.

I realise the patch is thousands upon of thousands of tiny fish. It’s a boil up; a feeding frenzy!

Seabirds

Circle

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Feed my soul

It’s not only birds who feed my soul. There’s a slow learning… percolating. It concerns the young people.

When the young people arrive I pull the cloak of solitude tight about me. Perhaps they’re dangerous? Perhaps I’m not safe? In the evening, when they light a fire, I grumble away to myself… don’t they know about the total fire ban… don’t they realise the danger to the bush? I plan how to get the Camper out in the event of a fire. It won’t be easy. I feel irritated by their irresponsibility. I consider going over & talking to them. Eventually I let it slide.

In the morning I pass by their campsite on the way to the long drop. A young woman calls me over & offers kumara & corn roasted on the open campfire. I feel spoken to… deep down… The offering of food to strangers is an ancient human ritual. I take her food. It’s not that I need the food. I have plenty in the van. What I need is to accept her simple human hospitality… and the communion that follows… and learn…

Kumara, corn, taro, cooked under southern stars

Such

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Priestess

After we eat, I talk & joke with the young people. The woman is a vegetarian. Me too. They’ve been to a music festival in Kaikoura & are returning to Wanaka. I’m off to Evolve in Nelson. I’m an old hippy. They tell me there’s a new breed of hippies out there. They are concerned their music might have kept me awake. No way.

I learn that hospitality is not simply about food. It’s about creating an open & welcoming space; a place where the other is received and accepted; a place strangers can become friends. Swami Camper smiles.

After I pack I drive north to the DOC camp at Whakamango. It’s a beautiful place with weka, pukeko and black swans. I love the beauty of the Sounds. On my first night I dream I am in a ‘thin place.’ I connect with members of the local Maori tribe. There’s a funeral. A significant person, a king or queen has died. I am asked to perform a role in the funeral. The Ngai Tahu people guide me. I respect and honour the Ngai Tahu people and their customs. The tribe honour me for what I have done. They offer me land and invite me to join the tribe.

I wake puzzled. Is the dream real or unreal? It feels real. It feels as if my dreaming soul has been drawn into a thin place within the World Soul: as if I have taken part in a necessary healing ritual. I don’t pretend to fully comprehend; but feel blessed.

The next day I bike three kilometres to look at the remains of the Pa at Karaka Point. I read its history: Te rae o te karaka… the Pa is stormed around 1720… it is stormed again and burned to the ground in the 1820s… the invading tribe open fire with muskets from canoes… the defenders, who have never encountered muskets before, panic and open the land gate attempting to escape… their enemies are hiding… waiting… all the defenders are massacred.

On Thursday I drive to Evolve. On the Blenheim/Nelson road I pick up a young French/Canadian hitchhiker. She tells me she needs to get to Golden Bay today. When we arrive in Nelson I drive an extra forty kilometres to take her to the road to Motueka. Part of me grumbles. I’m driving by GPS: the traffics heavy; driving the Camper’s is challenging; I’m going way out of my way. Yet I know I’m acting in an hospitable way. I know I’m creating a welcoming space where strangers can become friends. When I drop the woman off I feel a sense of satisfaction. Swami Camper nods.

At Evolve I encounter more young people. I watch their energy as they dance. I hear them trying to make sense of their world. Some attend my workshops. I feel a deep sense of connection with many of these young people. I puzzle over my feelings. Many of the young women are attractive. What I feel, feels like love. On the edge of sleep the Self speaks; ‘It’s another kind of love.’

It’s another kind of love

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Open

I wonder if what I feel is Aroha. I know Aroha is the Maori word for love/empathy/affection. I look up Aroha on a Maori website. I discover the its meaning includes; but extends beyond… love/empathy/affection.

Aroha is the creative force that comes from the spirit. In social interaction Aroha seeks the best in people; it draws it out, yet it is firm in not accepting aggression, greed, recycled ignorance or other behaviours that damage. Aroha in action is generous.  Aroha in group meetings seeks unity and balance. Aroha in practice is intelligent; a unified intelligence of the heart, soul and mind. Aroha is universal and known by all peoples of all cultures. 1)  

 www.Homepages.paradise.net.nz/arohanet/aroha

Roadside Blessings – Kevin

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