Two soft kōtuku feathers
Early in the morning at the lodge by the beach. The sea is humming his song with each wave that crashes against the shore. A light rain sprinkling the calm lagoon. Here the water is still , the sky is enjoying looking at his own reflection on the mirror-like surface. I came out early, when the stars were just about fading behind the distant mountains, and in the stillness and silence, I boarded my kayak and set off for a small adventure. Okarito is a small, peaceful village on the western sea coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The view from Okarito Lagoon cannot be surpassed by any other landscape on the planet, surrounded by magnificent rimu and kahikatea rain forest and views of the Southern Alps. I was alone. Often on my trip to New Zealand I kept thinking this was a journey I did not want to make...on my own. It was a strange feeling, I was happy to be there but there was something missing. On this quiet winter morning on the lagoon I met a kōtuku , the Māori name for the white heron. Kōtuku has a mythical status for the Māori because of their rarity and beauty, it is a symbol of strength, purity, patience and is a very good omen, a very lucky sign, if you see one in your lifetime. The white heron stood there looking at me, a beautiful creature among the reeds - quietly I moved closer, the heron did not fly away but kept starring in my direction. Next to it, I could see two white feathers. I came so close with my kayak and quietly asked the heron if I could take those two feathers. Kōtuku looked at me , tilted his head slightly before opening his wings and flying above me towards the slate grey sky. I took the two white feathers of the heron and thought : " why did you gift me with two instead of one ? " Then the reason came to me, two white feathers, a fresh start, a new path to be followed not as 'one' but as 'two'. Not just 'me' but 'us'