“Conversation enriches the understanding; but solitude is the school of genius.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882


I walked out this morning before 6.00am, bathed in the startling light of a fat platter of a moon hanging boldly over the bay to the west, a moon that had been absolutely full only a few hours before. I don’t think I recall the moon ever being brighter. It almost hurt one’s eyes to look at it, so intense was its reflection of the sun.


The very first hint of dawn tinged the eastern horizon as I plunged down through overhanging acacias to Mill Bay, so named for the timber mill that saw a few decades of fervent activity before closing its doors almost one hundred years ago. Crickets murmured their haunting angelic melodies from the undergrowth on the roadsides. The lightest drizzle washed my face and head and slightly dampened the shoulders of my jacket.


I turned when I reached the shoreline as is my custom, and began to skip up the hill, delighting in the movement which drew comforting warmth to my fingers and toes on this cool, late summer morning.


The misty rain had stopped by the time I crested the ridge of Rangikapiti Lane. The fat and exultant, haloed moon reflected an extraordinary sum of the sun’s light, freed from the temporary clutches of scattered cloud that had obscured it moments before. A dark band of cloud hung heavily over Mangonui, and light rain began to fall as I turned to walk the ridge. Suddenly a full rainbow, devoid of the usual stripes of multi-colored light in the pre-dawn darkness, stretched low across much of the eastern horizon, the top of its arch just nudging the dark, sodden blanket above.


I had never seen this before, and I was filled with the thrill of discovery. My mind cautioned against such feelings, reminding me that it was only the refraction of light through the water vapour from the brilliant full moon. Ignoring these intellectual ruminations, I felt only that childlike wonder that often arises when one is confronted with the magic and amazing beauty of the natural world.


Do you remember the absolute delight that each new experience gave you in your infancy? Do you continue to live with the bubbling joy that is natural when embracing each moment anew? Or is your response tainted by conditioning you’ve accumulated along life’s journey?


The world is an enchanting glade of infinite newness when one abides in a present untouched by the past.


John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives.

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