An island fished up out of the sea.
At once ancient and brand new. Where even in the withholding, in the barren of winter, there is a hint of what is to come. Some burst of green, some glance of red that survives the night.
This is what I come from.
The clouds don’t threaten here. They open up and reveal what’s inside. Here, it rains for days. The skies turn the skin to a river, to gorges and valleys that overflow. Deep pools made in the hollows where you can dive right under and sink right through.
When you break the surface your lungs fill up with the salt from your lip, and the dirt in your hair (you need just enough breath to fall back in).
You can taste this air. It sits on your tongue, expands in your throat. It fills your mouth and nose with the heady promise of damp soil, with the flesh of opening flowers.
Here even the prettiest grow wild (they were never told they shouldn’t).
There are fields over-run in which you can lay. Cover yourself with their bloom and hum. They will carry you straight back to the sea when you close your eyes, they will take you back to your beginning.
To the place that hasn’t forgotten.
You want to live somewhere else entirely.
You want your safe harbour and its politely waving sea. The calm surface that lets you skim your stones and never throws back what lies beneath.
There are no quakes and faults to your body allowed, no collisions of rock and sea to alter your course. There are no jagged formations that burst right through, that make themselves known and change your view.
You would keep your landscape dormant forever.
But I have broken you apart a thousand times all the same. Crashed against you, cracked through your surface and swum in your veins till we drowned. I have been your natural disaster, your flood and tempest, the violent wind that scattered your bones. I have held you under and pulled you back up, submersed you for a different salvation.
I have conquered your landscape and surrendered you mine.
There is a place that hasn’t forgotten.
(Have you ever noticed how the sun willingly splinters itself on the water, my love? Not everything has a desire to be whole) …
Mauri is a key component to understanding wairuatanga or Māori spirituality; it literally means ‘life force’ or ‘life principle’, and as such, everything has a mauri. Mauri applies to both animate and inanimate objects; plants, rivers and mountains all have a life force, as well as people.
This life principle teaches us about the need to respect and care for all things on earth; its existence does not elevate people above their natural surroundings, but makes them equal. Mauri acknowledges connectedness and the way in which all things on earth are in some way interrelated and reliant on each other.