Before moonrise

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Sneaking out through the gate at night, my headlamp was a bit too much. Some farm animals were not far from me. Grazing or simply standing. The sheep’s big eyes reflected my light with confusion and mild annoyance.

Some would call it uncanny to make eye contact with a group of sheep in the dark, not to imply that I’ve more reasons to traverse through their place than they do. Part of me wondered whether they’d be able to see more of the night sky and landscape with their large pupils. In general, though, they were indifferent to my presence.

Still, I switched off my headlamp and resorted to going forward with my phone flashlight. It was bright enough, but, more importantly, disturbs much smaller an area. The paths between farmlands were rather well-treaded, and navigation wasn’t challenging at all. I was simply backtracking, and with the exception of a few markers that were single-sided (painted rock), it was not an arduous hike to where I’d set my eyes on.

I’d seen the cliffs around Flea Bay before. It was from the sea, a few years ago now. I was with a date on a cruise boat looking for dolphins and krill; probably NZ’s native penguins also, though we didn’t end up seeing any birds other than gulls and albatrosses.

This sanctuary beach on the south-east side of Banks Peninsula is a breeding ground of little penguins, and the sandy area is off-limits after dark, when penguin parents — and a family of Canadian geese that recently settled, apparently — waddle back to their nests, linger together a little, and depart again before dawn.

I got to visit this place on land this time, during the my Banks Peninsula hike. A bucolic hut adjacent to a large farm was our stay for the first night on the tramping track. With the long southern summer daylight still in full force, the sky over the ocean only began turning purple past 9pm, and moonrise was soon to follow before 11pm.

As with most bays on the peninsula, the best way to hike downhill was to follow a stream that eventually feeds into it. About half an hour before the hut, the stream would form a few cascading waterfalls, and I’d decided to visit them later at night.

Continuation by ChatGPT

The waterfalls were a sight to behold in the moonlight. The cascading water glimmered and sparkled as it flowed down the rocks, creating a mesmerizing display of light and movement. I took a few photos, but they could never truly capture the beauty of the scene in front of me.

As I sat there, taking in the sights and sounds of the waterfall, I couldn’t help but think about the natural balance and harmony of the world around me. The water flowed down the rocks, nourishing the plants and animals that called the area home. The penguins and geese nested and raised their young, while the sheep grazed peacefully on the nearby hillsides.

It was a reminder that despite the chaos and turmoil of the world, there was still beauty and peace to be found in the natural world. I felt grateful for the opportunity to experience it, and for the reminder to take a step back and appreciate the simple things in life.

As I made my way back to the hut, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of contentment and serenity. The hike had been challenging, but the rewards were well worth it. The experience of the waterfall and the natural beauty of the area would stay with me for a long time. I felt grateful for the opportunity to explore and experience the world around me, and for the reminder to appreciate the simple things in life.

One thought on “Before moonrise

  1. Yes, I like to hear about your walks day or night, on Banks Penninsular..the waterfall and stars photograph is somehow inspiring/aspiring…
    Keep going..

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