Xingfu means happy and blessed in Chinese. Even though 2014, the year I started this blog, was a busy and, at times, difficult year that is the word I thought of for this space. Mama not because I have many children but because I seem to fall into a caregiving role. Sometimes I feel like Mama to the world.
The name XingfuMama means Happy Mama with undertones of being blessed.
One of the simple joys of the just past mid-winter season is when my dad’s Pink Perfection camellias bloom. Somehow they appeal to me most on the darkest wettest days…like they are saying “neeener-neeener” to the winter weather.
These bushes are over 60 years old. My father, now in his early 80’s, worked for the local green house company when he was in high school and they were experimenting with camellia’s for corsages. Because the blooms are so delicate and bruise so easily they were not deemed a good commercial idea and they tore out the bushes. Ever the scavenger, Dad brought them home and planted them. They have been abused and battered by winter storms for over sixty years, yet every year they put forward gorgeousness in the midst of dank grey. Just when I need it most!
The plum blossom is an important symbol in Chinese culture. One of the “four gentlemen” in traditional painting. Here is an interesting article about it’s symbolism in China (the Epoch Times can be a bit weird, but this article is pretty good). It’s symbolizing of hope in hardship and regeneration of life seems appropriate to the current epidemic.
Wishing all in China (which includes my son, who is not ill, or in a particularly dangerous area, but is starting week 3 of a lock down in his community) hope and courage in the face of this crisis.
Yes, there were some real bees in the same garden:
We were lucky enough to happen on the Sculpture in the Gardens while killing time waiting for our late night flight home. The Auckland Botanical Gardens were lovely and it was easy to get there using local buses. I’ll share a few more from this exhibit in the next few weeks.
Here are a few photos from a walk we took round trip from Paradise Bay on Urupukapuka Island for Alive and Trekking’s Which Way Challenge. I wish I could also share with you the smell of the air, the bush had a sweet smell, and the singing of the birds, and the warmth of the air with a cool breeze for balance…
At the Cape, the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular swirl of currents. At the northernmost tip of the Cape is a gnarled pohutukawa tree, believed to be over 800 years old. According to Maori oral history, the spirits of deceased Maori leap from this tree into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki.
Russell New Zealand was called the “hellhole of the Pacific” by local missionaries due to the wild behavior of the whalers on shore leave. Is this sign a witty response to all of the “first recorded cricket game happened here” signs (yes, I really saw that one, but I didn’t photograph it), an indication that nothing happening is worthy of note…or a claim of virtue that may or may not be correct?