It is Summer. Light red bristles of the Pohutukawa float past your face in the warm breeze like little, lost, red sailors adrift in an ocean of calm. The large sandstone cliff you stand on is a living thing growing out of the sea, dragging up scraggly Epiphytes, Ancient shells and dark marble rocks with it. A distant thrum can be heard over the cliffs as waves gently roll in and crash against the rocks. Carving the land away with each blow of water the sea is a skilled sculptor with precious pounamu concentrating with all their will. Thin blades of grass find their way between your bare toes as you stride towards the very edge of the cliff. Next to a small wooden bench worn and cracked from the corrosive sea spray, you lie on your stomach and crawl towards the edge. If this was the city you might be afraid someone would push you, but here in the wilderness you feel safer than anywhere else.
Look. Peering over you can see the dusty, undulating side of the cliff fall away below you as it greets the waving kelp desperately hanging to the rocks, always swaying back and forth in the swell creating delicate, swirling, fleeting patterns like olive green ribbons caught in the wind. Looking up you notice the ocean stretching out for as far as the eye can see, ending in a misty haze with the golden rimmed sky. You slip forwards as if the sea is trying to draw you in and decide instead to return to safety. Towards the land, monolith native trees with huge open branches rest in the shade, the soft buzz of cicadas and the curl of the trees arms create a roaring, leafy amphitheatre filled with vines. As a child I would stand here in awe gazing at the green dappled roof of the trees like it was ancient cathedral, now as I return here it seems so small.
Feel. The compressed, wet heat of the air beginning to smother you, making a dip in the sea seem like the only remedy. Running to the glistening water the red spotted forest quickly fades to field and the bright circus colours of tents begin to spring up amongst the tall grass. First there is the sun bleached brown of driftwood, the shiny grey of pebbles, the shifting softness of white sand and finally The ambient pressure of saltwater pushing up against your ankles like a purring cat. Wading out, the dark shapes of stingrays quickly skim away towards the turquoise deep leaving you alone with the cold tingle of water. Diving in the brief apprehension of the cold engulfs you until your body adjusts to the new environment. Floating weightlessly in the dark the only sense is the soft, static rumble of the ocean in your ears, gracefully drowning out your need for oxygen. Opening your eyes the saltwater burns at first until they begin to focus as best they can. Blurred shapes swim past you in big schools like the collective glare in a camera lens as you drift away into the the silent deep.