I had a simply stunning day recently. It all started on an early morning country car ride. The dawn was breaking, a breeze blowing and birds were beckoning in the new day with their calls.
Fellow Flaxmere Councillor Henare O'Keefe sat in awe and astonishment of the beauty of creation. Excited, he appealed to me, "J, look at the birds. Like the ones on my back lawn, they have no Resource Management Act or mayor or councillors, they don't go to meetings or move motions, and yet they want for nothing. How I marvelled the other day at the roses that bloom periodically outside my kitchen window. All this occurs without any man-made interventions or interference".
Nature is a messenger with simple but important lessons. It was being still and present in the moment that we were able to recognise and appreciate this special moment.
Nature has a rhythm also, and it's this rhythm that is the message here. Like waves and tides of the ocean, there is a time for drawing in and sending out.
Like a flower, there is a time for full array of its beauty and magnificence, and a time for recluse and conservation at night.
An exercised muscle needs days of recovery and repair. Animals hibernate, we sleep.
I tend to get caught up in the ever-increasing demands of this world at times. It's important to recognise and put my hand to the work I'm here to do.
However, it's equally important to recognise the need for those times of restoration, refreshing and simply being still with those I love and care for. This trip was an opportunity for Henare and I to do both.
We travelled to the Waiouru army training base to attend the graduation ceremony of a 12-day military camp that students in Flaxmere College's Military Services Academy participated in.
On arrival we were greeted by the academy director and students marching to attention and accord. Family and friends supported in abundance and their pride and joy was evident, and so it should have been. I was immensely impressed by the presence, calibre, conduct and confident demeanour of our academy.
This, I'm sure, contributed to them taking out a top award against other participating academies from around New Zealand.
Throughout the ceremony, Henare wiped away tears and will no doubt be singing their praises in his evangelical ways for time to come, as will I.
How much more important are we than the birds of the air and the flowers of the field that have perfected this simple message of being still, listening to the seasons, and trusting the gentle unforced rhythms of nature that tell us when to be active in the world and when to come away to the quiet intimate places to rest and be restored.
Henare expressed that day, and I agree, that we are blessed to have the best jobs in the world. It allows us to share in these special and treasured moments with our community.
As the birds of that day sang a chorus of thanksgiving and gratitude to the dawn break for a new day of life and sustenance, I too thank our community for allowing Henare and I to find our rhythm on that day - to come away, be still and to be refreshed in this simple yet special moment with you.
Jacoby Poulain is a Hastings District Council Flaxmere Ward councillor.