Matariki approaches. Often dawn will be mellow but then the mist rolls in. The sun is not powerful enough to dissolve the moisture and dankness prevails. The chatter of the world seems remote. The exotic trees lose their leaves, the hens have stopped laying and the cat seems to be hibernating. One of the elderly men of the village died on Friday night. But the kereru remain, perched watchfully on the power lines. This is unusual.

At this time of the year it is best to imitate the animals and the birds. The dogs continue their routines, even swimming in the pond. Two hares on the bottom field scamper across the grass. It being the shooting season, a large contingent of Paradise Ducks have taken up residence. Amazing how they know. Whenever we arrive they circle noisily. I begin to detect different patterns in their honking. Perhaps they have speech. Flight or fight?

I tried to talk to a troubled lad. What do you want to do job wise? Shrug. No idea? Shrug. A boy without boundaries, the world bleeding in, a boy bleeding into the world. What’s power? I ask him. Money. Have you got any? Shrug. How will you get some? Shrug. Where do you belong? I don’t belong anywhere. How’s that feel? Shrug. He’s waiting for a uniform and a strong leader.

Whereas nature is certain. The seed tries to grow, no matter what soil it lands on. If it takes root it seeks the light. The hares will eat and reproduce and run from danger. The ducks will circulate to warn of invaders. The natural world doesn’t shrug.

Caroline has acquired a new knee – the tips of the bones replaced with Titanium. Extraordinarily clever. Once she would have had to be left behind. That’s the upside of modernity.

Last night we gathered around a bonfire. Once we would have had to carry the flame from place to place, with someone’s role to be the guardian of the fire. If he failed he would’ve been severely punished, even killed. For the clan would have to wait for lightning to strike.

Another leaf falls. The remaining apples have rotted on the branch. The soil rests, closed. An absolute stillness prevails.

Another few days and the cycle of regeneration begins. A hangi is planned and we will place a plaque in front of Vicky’s tree.

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A new ritual for the village will have been established.

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