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You Know It’s Fun When You Keep Taking Off Your Wedding Rings Every Day For Fear Of Losing Them

February 18, 2011

We have been completely mesmerized by the beauty of this country. They say if you squish all the most remarkable parts of the rest of the world – the Swiss Alps, the Scandinavian Fjords, the rolling, green hills of the British Isles, the thermal wonders of Yellowstone National Park in the US… and put it all into one country –  then you have New Zealand.

We have discovered the land of a thousand secret gardens. Kiwi farmers border their fruit farms with tall trees to protect them from getting bruised by the wind and  as a result the country looks gridded by all these lovely, secret gardens that make you just itch to explore.

There is a ninety mile beach in this country ~ amazing bush and hills in all colours and shades of green imaginable ~ every type of water beauty ~ incredible history ~ a land of adventurers and out-door lovers (kindred spirits) ~ the world’s best tea ~ ocean waves on every side ~ yes, sheep ~ Vegemite ~ the Bay of Plenty’s famous fruit ~ Nana’s homemade bread and vegetable garden ~ planning to some day do the Milford Sound trek together on the south island ~ Lionel’s dream come true of taking his kids to the famous glowworm caves of Waitomo that he went to as a child ~ and time together as a family.

In one limestone cave yesterday, 80 meters underground, the acoustics were amazing. Our guide asked if anyone in our group could sing. There was lots of shuffling of feet and averting of eye-contact until one brave Welsh tourist spoke up. “Well,” he said, “ you can’t sing just anything here, you must sing something big, I reckon.”

Amidst Aussies, Koreans, Europeans and South Africans – a medley of countries visiting from all over the world all gazing up in wonder – he toke a deep breath, filled his lungs and began singing these words that reverberated all through the cave:

“Guide me, O thou great redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
Hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.”

Yesterday from a boat, as we looked up in complete stillness and midnight black at thousands of pin-points of turquoise lights (the Maori word for glowworm is ‘stars on the water’ because of their incredible reflections); as we hiked through the stunning caves of thousands of years’ of beauty dropped one splash at a time; as we saw fault lines from explosions and earthquakes that had left behind irreplaceable, sacred caverns and steaming crayola-coloured minerals, I kept thinking of that lone, accented voice singing underground and this quote kept going through my head over and over:

“Every time you feel in God’s creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: ’O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!” ~ Nicodemus

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Adriana permalink
    February 21, 2011 8:25 pm

    Wow! Thanks for all the details. I’m in love with all of your NZ posts.

  2. February 25, 2011 10:12 pm

    Wow! I love thinking of the Welsh man singing that hymn in the cave….what a beatiful experience that must’ve been.

    And I’m hoping neither of you have lost your wedding rings!!

  3. Barbara R. Thompson permalink
    March 1, 2011 7:30 am

    So enjoyed reading your blog. So beautiful the way you have described NZ.

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