Thursday, 25 July 2013

Totem Pole and Dolphins

It feels so good to be here! The Waitapu Retreat is an amazing place to be. Susan and Tahe are great hosts. The words “open-minded” and “friendly” are too worn out to describe them, but they seem to be their personifications. We have an own little cabin next to their house, including bathroom and kitchen. They have a wonderful taste concerning furniture and decoration: A lot of wood, old cupboards, warm colors, with an oriental touch to it and a lot of pictures and figures showing their deep connection to the Maori traditions.
Everyhing is perfectly clean, but without a sterile feeling to it.

Next to our cabin is another one, equally comfortable, where Susan receives her clients: She is a psychotherapist.

The surroundings are breathtaking. When we first arrived at the street, it looked just like all the others. A small road, paddocks and cows everywhere, farmhouses, signs saying “fresh milk” and so on.
But when you enter their place it feels like arriving in another world. You drive over a small river and suddenly there are palm trees everywhere, the light gets dimmed by native bush, the cries of the birds sound like you are in the middle of a jungle. Then, it opens up again and to your right is a small pond, fed by the river, overgrown with waterplants. The sun shines onto a green garden, filled with veggies, herbs and flowers. Around the lawn, there are serveral other ponds and trees, from banana to apple to grapefruit. Some statues and small figures are standing between them, the guardians of the retreat: A mermaid, Buddha, Ganesha, birds, stones, faces, women, animals...
And on the side, the bush opens up in a small path, leading into a green sanctuary with palms, ferns and old wrinkled trees around the river. 

The work does not really feel like work here. Tahe and Susan had the perfect task ready for me: Painting a wooden pole down by the river. It is supposed to mark the level of water and tell them when it's too dangerous to drive over it. They wanted to have something more colorful there and already had some plans what to do.
So we sat together and made a sketch, including the “Tuatara”, an ancient native lizard and some other animals they have a connection to.
This is the result:

It feels so good to be painting again! I am glad about the chance to mess around with some color and have a paintbrush in my hand all day. I'm really in my element here :)

Kay is doing some woodwork at the moment and we are sharing Tahe's and Susan's everyday rhythm, though we are free to do everything in our own time.
Every afternoon we go out with Maia, the dog and take her to the sea – She loves water. Jumps into the waves as if they were nothing. And she loves her stick, too :) That's her waiting for someone to throw it:

On one of those walks with Maia we had our first encounter with dolphins! We walked along the beach in the evening. The tide had just come in and the moon peeked through the clouds to paint an orange band on the sea. We saw them swimming around several boats and then coming in our direction. The rest of the walk they followed us along the beach in a distance, jumping out of the water from time to time. It was awesome. 
Maia was so impressed, she even forgot about her beloved stick and just ran along the beach, watching this playful group swim along with us.

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