Two White Gifts

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'

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