Ah the sopping wet, quiet forest…my go to place when I need to recharge. I’ve really needed the time to centre my thoughts. Sleep deprivation has been slowly eroding my energy. The past 9 weeks have been gruelling to say the least.
Wesley was in daycare today so I took the opportunity to drive up to the Pohongina and spend some time in the forest peering at fungus and listening to the birds whilst carefully plodding through thick goopy mud. Within minutes my feet were soaked, normally that would bother me, but today I embraced the icy water on my toes… It was really fresh and crisp under the shade of the trees, and the chill really invigorated me.
I came home a few hours later feeling much better. It was exhilarating; exploring, looking to find the gorgeous colourful fungus growing on the ground, consuming the dead bark, and the fallen leaves. I also noticed a few birds, some tui and fan tails were flitting around taking a peek at me, as I peeked at them.
A man was also fly fishing in the Pohangina river – and I thought of Mike coming out to the same spot in search of trout… Simply put, he is deeply missed around these parts and we are so looking forward to reuniting with him. We may know in the next week!
Long distance has been challenging, so thankfully there is the forest to help me regroup and prepare for the next few weeks.
Below details a short story taken from the Papatoetoe Central Schools website about the Māori connection to the tōtara tree… Read on!
The Totara in Maori Legend – Rata and the Tree
Rata was in the forest wandering about wondering what to do about retrieving the body of his father who had recently died when he decided he would chop down a tree and build a waka.
He selected a Totara, felled it, and went home planning to return in the morning to begin building the waka. When he did return he found the tree wasnt lying on the ground as he’d left it but standing as if it had never been felled.
He chopped the tree down again this time trimming the trunk and removing the bark and and went home with the same result when he returned the next day.
He chopped the tree down a third time, this time trimming and shaping the tree and scooping out the inside and decided to sneak back during the night to see what was happening
When he approached the tree in the dark he saw to his amazement that birds and insects were reassembling the tree to return it to its original state.
Rata apologised for chopping down the Totara and explained why he was doing so (to retrieve his Father), then offered to help lift the Totara back into place.
When dawn came Rata was ll alone, the little creatures had gone, and the Totara was back in its original state. Rata vowed to never chop down another tree, and a voice near him told him that he may, but he must ask permission from Tane Mahuta first.
As Rata returned home he came across a mighty war canoe sitting on logs in the forest, and he asked if it was his, and the voice said “yes, Rata’s waka”