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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Where are the Three Sisters? (Day 119)

How did a poem reduce my itching? How are clouds formed and dispersed? Where are the Three Sisters?

Last night, while we were sleeping in Keith the car, my feet were itching really badly. It kept me awake, the pain was excruciating. I had already put cream on the bites yet nothing seemed to relieve them, I put them on the window and the coldness gave some respite. Yet in this time of agony, I thought about other people who were in far worse condition than me. People who are homeless, in pain, I could understand why they turned to alcohol or drugs to dull their personal pain down. I only had sand bites and know that “it too will pass” just like the many bites I had in Sri Lanka that eventually healed.

In my time of pain I suddenly remembered a poem by Jelaluddin Rumi called The Guest House, where he writes to welcome and entertain all emotions. I’d been fighting the pain and getting worked up about it, so instead I welcomed it in, just like the poem. The pain was coming from me, not the sand flies, they had long gone. It was weird, just by welcoming the pain, it seemed to change the sensation; I calmed down and eventually fell asleep.

In the morning, we woke up to a beautiful clear blue sky. We drove to North Egmont Information Centre and as usual the staff were brilliant and recommended a 2 hour circular walk for us around Mount Taranaki. This volcano rising to 2518m is approx. 125,000 years old that last erupted in 1755 and considered dormant now.

Veronica Loop Track took us through lush rainforest. Due to the wet environment, Sphagnum moss thrives here, and this plant can store water 25 times its dry weight so a great medium for other plants to root and flourish. Climbing over tree roots and walking over well-made board walks and through narrow pathways with large ferns crossing our tracks we eventually came to an opening with a fantastic view of the top of Mount Taranaki. The white fluffy clouds were rolling over the top and gave us a great lesson in how clouds are formed and then disperse right before our eyes.

We’d set a target of getting back by 12 noon and just about made it for our 4 hour journey back to Hamilton. On our drive we saw a sign “Three Sisters” . Being one of three sisters, we had to explore. We turned off the main highway, following the signs to a carpark. I jumped out of the car down to the jet black volcanic sand and then doing an almighty skid, ripped my baggy pants and covered my phone in this black sticky powder. Tim picked me up and off we went, carefully, to find the 3 sisters. We found one great big rock; that was it. Apparently this is called the Elephant Rock, but it’s lost its trunk.

Hurrah! We arrived back to Hamilton after giving Keith a good clean and there was Serety, Dougie and Mac (who has doubled in size) to greet us. Big hugs all round and a lovely cup of tea. Out for a delicious Turkish meal with all the family, much laughter sharing our antics whilst eating a yummy Baklava, taking me back to our days living in Stoke Newington, and planning our return to this wonderful country.

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