Harsh Reality & the Wisdom of the Rainforest

17 Apr

As I sat down with my heart full of optimism, eagerly awaiting my coach back to Milford, I noticed a heap of rubbish all over the walkway and the street. I am not a person who can ever turn the other cheek, so of course I picked it all up and placed it in the rubbish bin, which had only been about five steps away from the location of the rubbish. Things like this really grind my gears. It’s easier to notice how horrible litter and such truly are when you live in such an “untouched” place like New Zealand. However, where does one think the rubbish goes after it reaches the bin? It certainly doesn’t disappear. I’ve seen dumps in places that looked like absolute paradise, and it brought tears to my eyes. These places exist because human beings are overpopulated and over consuming without any thought of ecological repercussions. Where does one think that poo goes when he flushes a toilet? It certainly doesn’t disappear. Try living in a rainforest with indoor plumbing, and seeing where it goes. It is enough to give me a small stroke. Certain things don’t belong, and that’s what this blog is about. It will be harsh, because, well, reality is harsh and I am fed up. My movement is in order. I’ve seen far too much, and will not tolerate the parasite that humanity is to this planet. By no means am I excluded from this, or insinuating that I belong on some sort of pedestal. We are all connected. I am just as responsible for humanities disgraces as Charles Manson or the idiot tourists who disrespect the rainforest. Therefore, I am choosing to take on the responsibilities to the best of my current knowledge and ability with the willingness to grow and learn. The following stories will absolutely disgust anyone with a conscious brain in their head and heart in their chest.

I always get fired up when I take the coaches back to Milford, because the driver always talks about how New Zealand was a land of birds (no native land mammals), which is why many native birds are flightless (much like the extremely endangered Kiwi bird, or the Weka, etc.) because before man discovered the paradise that is New Zealand there were no predators. These birds had no reason to evolve into birds of flight. Shortly after man showed up, Polynesian Rats were brought over by the first Maori people as a food source and other purposes, etc. These rats had few to no predators, so they quickly became a problem. Many bird populations started to decline because they hadn’t evolved to protect themselves from rats, or share their food with rats, or be food. Trees could pollinate with wind and there was enough food on the ground for the native birds that did not fly. Everything existed happily and perfectly before humans. Then the European settlers made their way over to do some more damage. They didn’t have enough to do so they decided to bring over rabbits to hunt. The rabbits absolutely destroy the native bush at an accelerated speed, which in turn destroys the homes and food of the native birds, which creates another decline in native bird populations as well as extinctions of many species. In order to correct the rats and rabbits, the stoat was introduced. This was by far the worst possible action that could have been made, because the stoat can climb trees. Now, native bush is being destroyed at an insane speed, and more and more native bird populations are nearing extinction. So, in order to attempt to correct this, a very, very small portion of the billions of dollars that are made through (in my opinion destructive-which I will shortly explain) tourism is given to the Department of Conservation to chuck a few stoat traps in the forest, and maybe once a month check them. In the greater picture though, who is the real invasive species? The rats and stoats and rabbits are simply doing what they have evolved to do. It’s the humans who have brought them here, and now we have to have massive bunny/stoat/rat/etc. genocide to attempt to correct an inexcusable ecological nightmare that humans created. These animals are living things as well, and yes, we must protect the endangered species, and unfortunately to kill these pests is the only answer. That’s only one of the sickening realities which I have witnessed. Let’s learn about the tourists.

Milford Sound is literally one of the most beautiful places that exists on the planet. There are massive glacially carved mountains, canyons, rivers, lakes, streams, waterfalls, glacially capped mountains, valleys, the fiord, and forest/rainforest. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the entire world because it is only one of the two fiords in Fiordland out of fourteen that can be accessed by land. All of the other fiords can only be reached via water, helicopter, hiking, or plane. Some have never seen a human footprint. Milford is distinct because of its dramatic features and extremely high mountains. It’s a pretty magical and beautiful place that no photo will ever do justice to. That being said, of all the hundreds and thousands of people that I see everywhere on a daily basis, I would graciously say that 90% of them have absolutely no concept of the magic of this place, and without a doubt they do not have a single ounce of respect for this beautiful heritage or any of the wildlife in it.

Just last week I took a coach back to Milford. During one of the photo stops I noticed some children feeding one of the native parrots (which had once been hunted to near extinction, however bounced back because they are one of the most intelligent birds on Earth). Feeding the native birds, more specifically the Kea, is never okay. First and foremost, the rainforest provides sufficient food which suits their dietary needs. Secondly, the Kea will become dependent on this, and will not forage for itself. I quickly let them know to stop immediately and explained why, and they complied. Kea are very friendly and mischievous birds, and relatively large. Within minutes after I had spoken to the family feeding them, I noticed a German tourist who had just gotten out of his campervan. A Kea was under his van while he was chasing another away. My eyes were fixed on this man. As he returned he noticed the Kea that was under his campervan. He crouched down and started to throw stones at it. I believe that I had a moderate stroke in that moment, and absolutely blew a gasket. I charged this man with eyes that could kill, and potentially turned into a fire breathing dragon. I used my firm voice that wasn’t quite yelling but full of anger, and told him that he needed to stop that immediately, or I would throw stones at him. I let him know that he was in a rainforest, a national park and world heritage area, and these animals are a protected native bird, and besides, it cannot throw stones back. The only thing that he could say was, “But it was under my campervan”. I immediately wanted to punch him in his throat, but that would only reduce me to his ignorance. He tried to argue more and I simply said, “Stop talking, there is no excuse for this, just stop talking and listen. This is a protected native bird, you are abusing it. You are not allowed to do this. Do you understand, because if you do not, I will happily explain it to you in German? DO NOT THROW STONES AT THE NATIVE BIRDS, FOR ANY REASON, EVER!” He just stopped and said, “Yes yes I understand, okay.”

The adrenaline stayed with me that whole day, has haunted me in my dreams, and even now in this moment is boiling my blood. If these are just two incidents that I have noticed in a ten minute period, what happens all of the other times?! What kind of horrid things am I not seeing?! I know that horrible things occur, but my goodness, it’s the bloody rainforest! Has man no respect at all for anything? This man was from a developed country as well, so his ignorance is absolutely inexcusable. I could only hope that the Kea chewed through his brake line. This man knows better. I could vomit in this moment just thinking about it. I have no sympathy for humans when it comes to animals. I’ve yelled at a little girl at Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown for throwing stones at the ducks. The parents (tourists as well) were allowing it. I asked her how she would like it if I threw stones at her, and if she thought that the ducks liked having stones thrown at them. The parents jumped in right away and asked her to stop, whilst trying to rectify their awful parenting, and sad as well as disgusting existence of a group of humans. I’m sure their daughter will grow up and be one of those children that microwaves kittens and smears poo on the walls, then later murders her parents because she was never taught compassion and unconditional love for all living things. Harsh? Once more, this IS reality. This is why I exist. I’m tired of witnessing this rubbish and refuse to sugar coat it. I am the fucking Lorax. I speak for the trees, the birds, the bees, and all of the things that cannot speak for themselves, for all of the flora and fauna, for everything that suffers yet no one seems to even have any sort of conscious awareness, consideration, or the slightest bit of care or Love in their minds or hearts because of their overly exhausting and busy lives full of far more important things than the existence of everything else outside of the hierarchy of humanity. “Which type of latte shall I consume today?” “What should I get for lunch?” “Who’s going to watch the kids on Friday night so mummy and daddy can get on a bender?” Meanwhile, real things are occurring all over the world that can be solved if we actually acknowledged them.

Then there are the passengers on the boat. There are people who literally ask me what it is they are supposed to be seeing there! I’d like to answer with, “The Ocean floor, and be sure to take a deep breath once you get there.” I obviously would not be any less ignorant than them if I did, so I explain to them how lucky they are to have eyes to witness the glory and beauty of everything around them, in hopes to enlighten them as much as their tiny little minds will allow. That’s just the beginning. I constantly see rubbish flying off the boat into the fiord because people throw it in there, or leave their coffee cups and rubbish on the edge of the boat carelessly allowing the wind to pick it up and displace it in the fiord for one of the last Hectors Dolphins to choke on it (there are only about 7000 left, they only live on the coasts of NZ). These human beings would be more useful to the planet as shark bate. This is only a small part of it.

Let’s talk about the rainbows that shouldn’t be in Milford. These are the rainbows in the water. The toxic chemicals used to scrub the boats with, then hosed off right into the fiord. How about diesel and the fumes? I am awaiting internet to look up peer reviewed articles on the effects of diesel on the native bush, as well as the toxicity in the water of which the vessels travel. How about waste? Someone had a bilge alarm going off mid cruise because of an oil leak and excessive water building up in the bilge. What did they do you ask? Rather than turning around and cancelling the cruise to properly pump it to a “proper” waste disposal (whatever that means, because it’s going somewhere nonetheless, just a lesser of evils), this particular skipper let it out into the fiord.

 Another skipper admitted to pumping poos directly into the water on a group of bottle nosed dolphins because something was broken and this person needed to empty the soilage tank. These are another group of human beings that should be lit on fire and tossed from a twelve story building onto a bed of spikes to assure that the job is done properly. Of course, instead, I do the “humane” thing and try to positively influence and inspire them. I use the term “humane” loosely. I’m not sure what that means anymore. I’m not sure that it’s a positive term.

What about the latest group of fiord rainbows you ask? The new non-slip grip that has been put on the wharf so that the tourists have a grippy strip to walk on in the winter is the latest addition to careless spills in the fiord that never got documented. The type of glue that the workers used to put down the grippy (probably also toxic) grainy stuff was a liquid that they put down with a paint brush. This glue of course leaked right through the cracks in the wood on the wharf into the fiord and created many chemical rainbows in the fiord. Why do they do this? Because it’s a tourist attraction, of course. Because it generates billions of dollars. Because, sadly, they can. When a skipper pointed it out to them, they quickly added dish soap to it and put on the hoses. This is the absolute worst thing that could have been done because the dish soap makes it sink, rather than allowing the rainbows to evaporate. Regardless, they shouldn’t have been there to begin with. Whatever happened to good ol’ fashioned salt to chuck on the ice?! Salt is natural, the ocean is full of it. These human beings should be fitted for cement shoes.

With this said, this is only a portion of the things that I witness. This is why I cannot sleep. This is why my hair is grey and I am becoming cynical. So, with that said, the end of the season ball fell on my day ten. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and on the next morning I woke up feeling horrible. This had nothing to do with my hangover. I had a massive realization. Yes, I had been drinking too much to repress my anger and attempt ignorance unbeknownst to my realization. I woke up bitter, and disgusted with myself, as well as humanity. I was unhappy with the amount of drinking I had been doing that week and of course all of the ignorant behavior which is attached. I needed change. I needed a clear head. I needed to get out of the house. I needed to be away from people, from humanity. Even Danger listened to me for five minutes and told me that I sounded like I needed a long walk in the bush. He was right. I was feeling it. I walked home and packed my backpack. There was a walk that I could do that was only about three kilometres from the house, and was about 2.5 hours through the bush into the Tutuko Valley, where I had intended on pitching my tent.

I had to walk along the road to get there for most of the walk, and I felt so miserable about humans and in part myself (because I, too, am a human, and fall into this classification of an invasive and parasitic species) that I could not even look at or speak to another person. Every car that drove past me, I turned my head in the event that it was someone that I knew. I couldn’t speak to anyone. My heart was heavy. I do not like being in limbo and not knowing which direction to take to start moving forward with saving the world. Whilst on my walk to the Tutuko track, I witnessed another atrocity. There was a Weka (flightless, native bird, endangered, protected, and similar to the Kiwi) who had been crossing the road as a campervan drove right over it. They probably weren’t even aware of anything, because most people live in their bubbles. I ran over to it immediately and placed my hand on it. It was dead. I cried. I cried for so many reasons. I was appalled. I put my hand over the bird and another hand out to the universe, to the forest, and apologized from the depths of my soul that another human has taken something from it. This hurts my heart to no end. Initially I wanted to pull it off of the road and give it back to the forest, so that when it decomposes its nutrients and minerals can be put back into the Earth at least. Then I thought, no. I am going to leave it here for others to see. In addition, I took a photograph. I wasn’t aware of why I needed to do this yet, aside from evidence of the disgrace that humanity is, but there was a greater purpose. I hadn’t learnt it at that time.

As I continued my walk to the Tutuko path, even more desolate than before, the knives just kept stabbing me in the soul as I noticed loads of rubbish EVERYWHERE along the road. Surrounding the small road is the forest. Therefore all of the rubbish on the side of the road was in the forest. Most of which were non biodegradable substances. I collected it all and made it fit in my pack, and angrily made my way into the bush with extreme desperation for hope.

Once I couldn’t see the road anymore, hear the cars, or even see the sky through the trees, my soul started to feel detoxified and connected to nature once again as it so desperately needed to be. I was surrounded by the rainforest, still very wet from previous rainfall a few days prior, and only the sounds of the rushing river which flowed to my right from the glacier which sits atop Mount Tutuko and the magical music of the songs from the native birds.

I’ve learned from many Shamanic studies how to listen to nature, and more specifically the trees. The Maori believe that trees have their own language as well. So, I have my “thing” and I do it. I am quite intuitive and extremely connected, so I can feel which tree has a profound message for me. When I come across this tree, I personally choose to kneel on its roots, place my left hand over my heart, and my right hand on the tree. Then, I don’t think about anything. I always have an intention as well that is a minimal amount of words or just one word that I have a picture for in my head. Then, I clear my mind entirely, and as the Shamans teach, whatever pops into my head first, is exactly the message that needs to be obtained. I trust this. I do this often. I’ve said it before and will say it again, when I walk through the forest I feel as if I am in the presence of wise old men, as they have been around significantly longer than humanity and have seen much more than we ever have and will in their own lifeline and span.

The first message that I received was “Where to Begin”. It was as simple as that. I was stressed to the point of being nauseous because I have this goal to save the world, show human beings how to Love, and have no idea where to begin. The next tree was simply “What”. At first I thought it was in the form of a question, like, “What is it you want from me?” Then I asked for clarity, and it was a “What.” not a “What?” This was attached to my previous tree, because I need to figure out where to begin and what. The third tree that I encountered, before my path was too flooded to continue following, offered the message of “Trust Yourself.” I’ve gotten messages like “Trust the forest, we will guide you.”  But never have I gotten the message to trust myself, and I realized in that moment that I hadn’t been. I had been spiraling out of control, but this hour deep into the forest quickly grounded me. Once I realized I couldn’t continue on my flooded track, I turned back. I had already taken off my socks and hiking shoes and just trekked through the muddy and flooded path in bare feet, but at one stage it was too deep for comfort and safety, so I headed back. I felt okay with this because of the wisdom which I had obtained. I wasn’t quite finished though. There was one particular place during my walk back that was overwhelming with comfort and warmth, as well as an exponential feeling of Love. I decided to have a seat there between the trees and ferns. There was still quite a lot of moisture at the tree tops from rain two days prior; however it had been a warm and still day, so I hadn’t noticed it much. At one stage I asked the forest as a whole, as I sometimes do, and the message that I got was that it needed a voice. I’ve gotten this message from so many trees before. [I’ve seen a massive, old tree just barely hanging on in a mini construction zone during a jog once. I place my hand on my heart and the other on it, and I cried instantly. This tree was terrified. It also assured me that I needed to be a voice. They need a voice. I trust this. I am the Lorax. I must speak for the trees, for the forest. ] So in that moment I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had instantly burst into tears, and apologized to the forest for what humanity has done. Whilst crying, a massive gust of wind came from out of nowhere, blowing the remnants of the raindrops from the treetops, and we wept together.

A few moments later I noticed a very beautiful and special stone, shimmering at my soul through the windows of my eyes. I never take anything from the forest. I’ll collect beautiful stones from certain beaches, gravel walking paths, but never anything that is in the actual forest. It would be as if I was stealing from it, and I could never bring myself to do that. I picked it up, and looked up at the trees. The first word that popped in my head was “Gift.” I placed my hands on the roots of all the trees nearest me and asked for clarity. It was in fact a gift. It was a gift from the forest, and it would forever be special. I shed another few tears of thanks for this special and beautiful gift. Finally, after releasing all of the necessary emotion, I simply cleared my head for another moment and listened. I absorbed the beauty around me with all of the Love in my heart and soul. I thought of the Weka that I had witnessed the murder of, and the photograph. I started to get angry once more. I thought of all the things that I see that disgust me. Then it came to me. Document them. Take photographs, videos, notes, etc. Then that stemmed into the thought of a documentary. Then I realized that that was the link that the trees had led me to. That was where I needed to begin and what I needed to begin with, and in case my ego got in the way, I was reminded to trust myself. I had what I needed and what I went to the bush for. I was hearing quite a lot of rock fall as well, which sounds exactly like thunder. Because I couldn’t see the sky and my path was already flooded, I assumed it was time for me to exit. I made my way back out of the bush.

I wasn’t ready to go home yet. I really did want to sleep in my tent, but there was nowhere else I could pitch it without squishing native bush, so I surrendered to that. I had to nourish my creative side though, because I had not been doing enough of it. I decided to go under the Tutuko Bridge down to the rushing river which ran from the glacier atop the mountain. I am in fact a terrible swimmer, so I did not stupidly venture out into the roaring waters. I did, however, find a shallow spot between some massive boulders. I tossed all of my muddy clothes on the rocks and hopped into the icy water. It was bone chilling yet liberating and refreshing. I didn’t spend much time in it; no need for hypothermia, just a quick rinse and liberating public nudity was just what the body and soul needed. I hopped back out feeling cleansed of any remaining negativity, dressed, and headed back home. On the way I collected more rubbish, but not before taking photographs of it.

That night I lay in bed, as always with my drapes open. The stars were magnificent that night as the sky was just as clear as. I could see not only the constellations, but also the tiny stars that connect them to their perfect pictures. In addition I could see galaxies, nebulas, and of course, space junk floating around. (Another thing that makes me insane). The backdrop of the stars was the shadow of the Mitre Peak and all the other beautiful surrounding mountains. I felt the overwhelming need to sleep with my special stone that was the gift from the forest. I decided that the best place for it would be over my heart chakra.

I woke up today, still laying on my back with the stone over my heart, feeling well rested for the first time in many months. I had so many cleansing and healing dreams, and felt more open to the universe and any path in which I must take to achieve my goal to save the world. I was able to chat with one of my mentors, and I shared with him my story above. He offered beautiful additions to my documentary idea which the forest planted in my mind. He suggested YouTube videos and video blogging. This made perfect sense to me because it is quicker and to the point, and most humans have short attention spans. In the long run I can still work on a docco, but simply documenting the “little” things that aren’t so little along the way and using the media to at least get a start at getting my voice out there and my message heard, is brilliant! I felt so overwhelmed with clarity today. I decided to hitch a ride with Danger to Te Anau since it was on his way, and spend the next of my two days in Te Anau, catching up with the world, searching for a Shaman, nourishing my feminine side (TreatYoSelf day is tomorrow, massage therapy status), and doing some serious meditating on the Lake.

Lastly, I just want to thank all of my readers from the bottom of my heart. I am well aware that I do not sugar coat any of my philosophies and thoughts. My blog is me, whether it is beautiful, sad, ugly, angry, etc., it’s me. I am thankful for those of you who share interest, and hope that my life can offer some sort of insight, inspiration, a smile, awareness of any kind, or Love. Every reader is an ear that hears my voice. Every one of you are helping me achieve my goal simply by reading and acknowledging my stories. Thank you, with Love.

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