Growing up in a small rural area was a privilege for which I will always be grateful. I spent nearly 18 years living in a beautiful valley with a river below the house, surrounded by farms (see above), with the bush close by and my school by the beach a mere 10 minutes away. At night all you could hear was the chirp of insects, the distinctive call of the morepork (a small native owl), and occasionally the faint revving of an engine as someone carved doughnuts in the gravel down by the cattle saleyards. We drank rainwater out of a tank, ate homegrown vegetables and home-killed meat, and felt lucky that we got to eat McDonald’s once a year when we passed through Whangarei, a full two hours drive from home.
I’ve now lived more of my life in cities than I ever did in the country, but green places with clean air and bright starry skies will always be my spiritual home. Because of this, I was delighted when a Facebook friend recently nominated me to upload one photo of nature every day for seven days. It was a great excuse to trawl through old photos, re-live some beautiful moments, and I quickly found a large collection of favourites to share. In fact, after my seven days were up I voluntarily extended the challenge to 30 days so that I could upload 23 more photos. Most of the photos I selected have never featured on this blog, so I have put together the top 16 here and I hope that you enjoy them.
In case you’re wondering, the title of this post is the opening lyrics of Wayne Mason’s song “Nature”. This gentle, lyrical pop song went to number one in the New Zealand charts in 1969 and was later voted the best New Zealand song of the 20th century. Little Wayne was only 19 when he wrote “Nature”, and he says that he wrote it “in an hour on the front porch of my mum’s house, looking out on a beautiful day with trees and stuff. Bees were buzzing and my heart was fluttering” (source: here). This is probably the most wholesome thing that a member of a band has ever said about their hit song, but really, this is exactly why most of us are drawn to nature – for its buzz and its flutter and our deeply-felt response to such purity. We could all use a little peace in these chaotic times.
Above: Butcher Bird in Maleny, Sunshine Coast, 2012
Above: Stormy skies in Brisbane, Australia 2013
Above: The cave at Te Henga (Bethells Beach), 2014
Above: Lupins at the Auckland Wintergarden, 2010
Above: Rice fields in Pai, northern Thailand, 2011
Above: Genghis (the Irreplaceable), our wonderful ginger cat, Auckland, 2008
Above: Taipa Beach, Far North New Zealand, 2009
Above: Spiky shadows at the Auckland Wintergarden, 2010
Above: Waterlilies in Ho Chi Minh City, 2011
Above: Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2011
Above: Beautiful Far North New Zealand, 2009
Above: At Phi Phi Islands, Thailand 2010
Above: Just another rural sunrise, Far North New Zealand, 2014
Above: Sleepy koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane 2014
Above: Bonsai inside the Citadel, Hue, Vietnam, 2011