Roadside Chats (17) 24/10/15
Crossing the small bridge north of Kekerengu I see red & blue flashing lights. Too late! I slow to a stop in front of the parked police car. Bugger; I was over 110.
As the policeman walks toward the car I whisper to Kotuku… my wairua… ‘Help me!’ I know Kotuku can influence people and events about me. What I don’t know, is I’m about to experience something special; something very special.
I apologise to the policeman; admit I was going too fast. I pass the breath test. I explain why I haven’t got the driver’s license; how I lost my wallet in Blenheim; that I’ve reported it to the Blenheim police.
The officer is very polite. He returns to his car to check my story. I breathe deeply. Bugger I don’t need a fine on top of losing a wallet. Money’s tight. I’m in shock. Help me Kotuku!
Its five minutes before the policeman gets out of his car. When he does he’s got a piece of paper; the ticket. He walks to my car & hands me the piece of paper. ‘It seems you’ve been through a bit of a tough time recently sir. I won’t make it any worse. I’ve managed to adjust your speed to 110; that enables me to issue you with a warning.
I feel tears; gratitude. I thank the officer. Before he leaves he has one more question. ‘Sir; do you mind if I ask you the significance of the pendent?’ I tell him the pendent is of a kotuku… a white heron; that it was carved by Brian Flintoff, a traditional Maori carver. I tell him the Maori people see the kotuku as a spirit messenger; that it’s sometimes known as the ‘rare one;’ that it accompanies the dead into the next life. I tell him I’m a poet… that once I dreamed of an incandescent kotuku… that the kotuku identified itself as my wairua (or Self)… that I wear the pendent to remind me of the Self’s presence.
The policeman nods. ‘I write poetry myself;’ he says. ‘It helps keep me alive. It’s a very special place Marlborough. My whanau come from up there. I hope the rest of your day goes well.’
He gets back in his car & off I drive. ‘What was that? What was that?’ I keep asking myself: a spiritually aware, compassionate, poetry writing, policeman… and I’d just asked Kotuku for help!
Rare one; you drop silent into my heart…
& my world settles… stills…
It’s been six weeks since I started back travelling in the Camper. I’m aiming for a mix of time at Deep song, and times out and about on the road.
My first port of call is Anatori. Anatori is on the West Coast of the Tasman area. It’s a wilderness area; a place the ancient Waitaha people visited and held sacred. I feel the shift in energy as I journey down the Coast and into the Kahurangi National Park.
As I drive south I’m drawn to the stone outcrops protruding from the hills and cliffs. Some might see them simply as stone outcrops but I see faces alive with energy and power. This land is primal; animated.
I’m treating my journey to Anatori as a pilgrimage. Writing’s been a struggle. Something’s not gelling. I’m doing my best but something’s missing. I feel exhausted. At Anatori I will wait on Kotuku.
I park in the DOC camp and walk along the beach. Nikau palms dot the shoreline. Waves roar and hiss up the beach. It begins to rain. I retreat to the Camper. In the night Kotuku speaks:
‘In the furtherist regions of the soul there sits a port
Nobody sails there except in the most extreme conditions’
It feels like I sail ‘in the most extreme conditions’ as I try to be faithful to who I am, and the Sacred Life which holds and supports me. The last six years have been tough. They’ve taken their toll. Yet, Kotuku is telling me, there’s something necessary in the ‘extreme conditions’ I’ve faced & continue to face. ‘There sits a port… in the furtherist regions of the soul.’ I can only sail there… ‘in the most extreme conditions.’ The port I’m sailing towards is mysterious. I can only find my way to it through struggles, trials, and darkness. Trouble-free conditions will prevent my arrival. I begin to see my journey in a different light. Somehow suffering & struggle are working for me. There’s purpose in what I encounter.
‘He pours; he pours over the sacred text
Who knows; who knows what he will find next’
As I write Sacred Fractions I ‘pour over the sacred text’ of the sayings. I gather insights. I make discoveries. I interpret and re-imagine. I write in creative ways that will (hopefully) engage the reader. The sayings come from a great depth and are daring and highly imaginative. The level of concentration required to write the book is mentally taxing. Some days I give up and I lie on my bed exhausted. Yet, despite my struggles, the saying tells me the Self appreciates my seeking and finding. I feel strengthened and supported.
I return to Deep Song. A week later my daughter Sita and my grandchildren Charlie (6) and Eilish (4) arrive at Blenheim Railway Station. I’m so looking forward to their visit.
As I drive slowly up Wakamarina Road towards Deep Song I show Charlie and Eilish new born lambs; cattle; lamas and pigs. I talk about wild deer and wild pigs and wild goats. When we arrive at Deep Song, I show them wekas, tuis, bellbirds, kereru, fantails and quail. I also show them the possum cage.
I tell them tonight we are going to catch Blossom the possum so we can see what she looks like. Charlie and Eilish watch as I bait the trap with apple. I show them how it will work. We set the trap and go to bed.
In the morning I wake to Charlie hammering on the door of the Camper: ‘Granddad, Granddad we’ve caught a possum.’ We gather around the cage. The children have never seen a possum. I tell them that possums live in holes and climb the trees around Deep Song; that they only come out at night; that they love the moon. Later we return Blossom to the bush. The children begin to understand that the Wakamarina is very different from Christchurch.
Later in the day Eilish walks toward the Camper. Her eyes are big. She has a question: ‘Granddad; do tigers live here?’ I explain how we don’t have tigers; just deer, & pigs, & goats & possums. She trots back to the cottage.
I smile as I feel my way into Eilish’s question. It’s such a natural question. There’s such an innocence to it; such a sense of genuine inquiry. I think of the prophet who said we can never experience the Divine mystery, within and about us, unless we become like little children.
Unless we leave… the entrancements… the judgements…
The suppositions… the blind certainties…
The apple of conditioning…
Unless we fall backwards into light
Unless we trust…
The natural… the creative… the wise… the compassionate…
Core of our Being
Roadside Blessings – Kevin