This year I have been slow to post - frankly dispirited by the size of the suffering that we humans keep creating for ourselves and for the planet. I've been thinking - what can I do, what shall I focus on? But while I was on holiday further north in the North Island, nature provided me with some encouragement. At Kaihu, near Dargaville on the Kauri Coast, sunrise briefly coloured the morning mist a soft pink, and burnished the bush with golden light. A strangely coloured but to me gorgeous scene, uplifting, delightful - I've never seen it quite like that before.
At the end of another day, at Lake Taupo, more lightworks.
This is a very big lake. It partially fills a caldera (collapse crater) of Taupo Volcano, a "supervolcano." Fortunately the eruptions are not frequent. The caldera's current size is a result of the Oruanui Eruption, which devastated much of the North Island about 27,000 years ago. There were many smaller eruptions between that and the Taupo Eruption 1800 years ago, the most violent eruption known to have occurred in the world over the last 5000 years. The ash plume reached the stratosphere and covered New Zealand in least 1cm of ash, and it is possible that this ash was the cause of red sunsets recorded by the Romans and Chinese at that time.
The surrounding Taupo Volcanic Zone is still active, and the Taupo Volcano is regarded as dormant.
Hmmm. I think there is a lesson here about our size in the scheme of things.
But being tiny is not a reason to feel powerless - the Dalai Lama quote comes to mind - "if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."