Sunday, February 19, 2012


From kea to glacier.

Te Taho-Okarito-Franz Josef-Te Taho

There is an incredible amount of intensity in getting up close to a bird that you've never seen in your life. We spotted the bird first around 20 meters away from us on Pakihi Walk, just outside the wetlands of Okarito. A shady mixture of gray and brown pecking the walkway. We lowered our voices, halted and Maria started digging my camera out of my backpack as slowly and quietly as she could. The bird started hopping closer just as if we weren't there. The kea, a parrot-like bird native to New Zealand, was obviously a fairly tame creature and quite accustomed to humans.

Eventually, step by step, we made our way to only a meter away from the bird and watched as it snapped fern leaves with its beak for no apparent reason. Looking at a single piece of wildlife is an amazing encounter and makes you forget all about the world outside the situation. The only thing you're concentrated on is your own movement, the silence, the actions of the wild being. Very meditative, as a certain acquiantance of ours would say.

Whereas the kea is a small detail in an environment full of life, the Franz Josef Glacier is a phenomenal structure dominating all forces around it. The ice that streches on for 11 kilometers is a sight for sore eyes, with the sun glimmering at the top, just above 2000 meters. The many waterfalls surrounding the area create a feeling of immense power. It's nature that rules this place, not you, people.

Birds being hunted down, captured. The ice melting, washing away. You don't have to be an activist, putting your life's effort into saving nature, to realize that the planet we live on is a fragile sphere. Sometimes I feel like an intruder on my own planet, disturbing the peace that was here ages before I was born.

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