comments 25

“Through falling leaves I pick my way slowly”

Rural far north New Zealand, 2014

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.

Butcher Bird in Maleny, Sunshine Coast, Australia, 2012

Above: Butcher Bird in Maleny, Sunshine Coast, 2012

Stormy sky, rainbow and cranes in Brisbane Australia, 2013

Above: Stormy skies in Brisbane, Australia 2013

The cave at Te Henga, Bethells Beach, Auckland 2014

Above: The cave at Te Henga (Bethells Beach), 2014

Lupins at the Wintergarden, Auckland 2010

Above: Lupins at the Auckland Wintergarden, 2010

Rice fields in Pai, northern Thailand, 2011

Above: Rice fields in Pai, northern Thailand, 2011

Genghis the ginger cat 2008

Above: Genghis (the Irreplaceable), our wonderful ginger cat, Auckland, 2008

Beautiful Taipa Beach in Far North New Zealand, 2009

Above: Taipa Beach, Far North New Zealand, 2009

Shadows at the Wintergarden, Auckland 2010

Above: Spiky shadows at the Auckland Wintergarden, 2010

Waterlillies in Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City, 2011

Above: Waterlilies in Ho Chi Minh City, 2011

Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia 2011

Above: Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2011

Beautiful far north New Zealand, 2009

Above: Beautiful Far North New Zealand, 2009

Tropical holiday in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand 2010

Above: At Phi Phi Islands, Thailand 2010

Rural far north New Zealand 2014

Above: Just another rural sunrise, Far North New Zealand, 2014

Sleepy Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, 2014

Above: Sleepy koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane 2014

Bonsai inside the Citadel, Hue, Vietnam, 2011

Above: Bonsai inside the Citadel, Hue, Vietnam, 2011

25 Comments

  1. Bonjour Chez, a childhood in the countryside must be a treasure you own all your life. It sounds so wonderful. Take care, Sabine

    • Hi Sabine thanks for dropping by. It was wonderful, but of course there were downsides too – the closest cinema was two hours drive away, we hardly ever got to eat fast food, and we had to buy most of clothes by mail order. As a teenager, those things were tough!

      • Oh yes, I can imagine, as a teenager I wouldn´t have liked that either. But my grown-up self is all caught up by what sounds like an idyllic country life ….

  2. Jennifer Leggatt

    Hi Chez

    I really enjoyed this post (as usual). Awesome photos.

    Any luck with your camera card?

    Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

    Lots of love,

    Mum XXXXXXXXXXX

  3. A stunning collection of photographs Chez. It is lovely to see some of NZ too and hear the song. I thought you meant he composed it on YOUR mum’s back step! but still…could have been very much like your own mum’s step. I enjoyed this post, thanks. Philippa

    • Thanks for the feedback Philippa – glad you enjoyed it. I can see the potential misinterpretation now! Have a wonderful weekend 😊

  4. Ok Chez, a second attempt to comment….

    I loved your extended 30 day challenge, and its great to revisit your top picks here. Also enjoy how you have woven your text around the images. I find it immeasurably sad that there are people out there who don’t “get” the buzz, and the fluttering of the heart which many of us experience when immersed in the beauty of nature.

    So thanks for this … And your food blogs and pics. Keep posting.

    • Thank you for persisting and commenting, even when you’ve seen them all before. And looking at your profile, this is exciting – are you starting your own blog? You should, you have a wonderful writing style!

    • Good to know, thanks Michelle. I hadn’t thought about that, but yes they do indeed look better in a larger format…my childhood wasn’t perfect, but it was close enough 🙂

  5. Beautiful! I also did that Facebook challenge, and really loved it. Hadn’t thought of turning it into a blog post – but what a great idea! And as a Whangarei girl, I love your Far North pix in particular!

    • Yes there was a strong Far North bias on the collection! I also shared the photos on Instagram, so I feel a bit guilty about spamming the handful of people who follow me on all three platforms.

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