LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD – AOTEAROA – Where stories linger like slender strings of tiny ocean pearls within your billowy sleeves of cloud-like memory. Where sky and sea walk hand in hand and in their mirage-like midst worlds both old and new appear to hover, and on their very edges ethereal doors stand ready to be entered, to share gifts perhaps waiting to be given. Is it but a dream to feel this way? And yet somehow, I think not.
Kia Ora, you say.
Aloha, I answer. For that is what I know in my heart.
Heart – the door you offer, at least to me – the chance to enter a land of ancient openness and be at peace, to walk with ease again along the corridors of time. As if a jewel had been here patiently waiting to be retrieved and lived anew. Strange to find you now, for I have landed on your shores when the earth is rumbling mightily and the ring of shifting sands and olden fissures is making itself known. Breaking through the seeming solidness of life and coughing up its innards for the entire world to see.
Kia Kaha, you say, for you have been through this before and know no fear.
Is that the opportunity, when all else falls away, to know no fear? To know that life always begins anew, that if we open our hearts and trust the birth, it can perhaps be even better than before, that we are strong in spirit no matter what?
I am touched by the hearts of people on this land of yours, Oh Long White Cloud. Touched by their generosity and kindness in the midst of devastation – their willingness to reach out and help another. It is the humaneness within humanity, is it not – to offer aid without question or condition? Too often we forget this as we stride our world of ever-increasing gadgets and sound bites. Your people are helping us to remember.
Ke Aloha Aotearoa, your beauty is astounding. Gods have walked upon your earth and fished in your waters. Songs have been sung in your honour and winds have dashed your shores. Mountains high and long have risen dressed in snowy garments. And films have told stories of Middle Earths and Hobbit kingdoms. You are part of a realm we now call, The Pacific. But somehow you are part of something else as well. It lives within the very fabric of your air, and hence within the fabric of your people. Amongst all else, it is a strength of heart and the never-ending ability to dare to weave new story into life, no matter what. A wondrous gift this is for the world to see and feel. Thank you for bringing it to our table.
Kia Kaha, Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud. Kia Kaha New Zealand.
You are loved.
Aliana Alani 2011
…I wrote this piece one week after the big earthquake hit Christchurch. As the week went on, I became deeply moved by the people there and New Zealand as a whole. At the time, I sent this to friends, but now that I have this blog, I wanted to share it with you. Christchurch still lives on shaky ground!