It is the fifth anniversary of Adam’s death. We have been anticipating this day for weeks, if not months. It provided the impetus for our return to New Zealand and, in particular, Hawke’s Bay. We are feeling expectant and a little nervous. We spent several hours yesterday looking for a suitable site where we might spread Adam’s ashes but found the vegetation along the riverbank too thick and overgrown or the walk to the river too long and arduous.
We are reminded of another part of the Tukituki River where we dropped Adam and a friend off for a day’s fishing. We find the place and pull off the road. A sign indicates that this is one of several designated access points for fly fishermen. Permission is given to walk across private property. The only request is that we close the gates to stop the cows wandering.
As we stand on the pebbly bank by the river’s edge we reflect on what a glorious autumn day we have been given. We
have a sense that this moment in time is of special significance. We feel a connection with Adam knowing that this river brought him so much pleasure. It was here that he knew peace and contentment. It was here his thoughts disentangled and he was able to focus on living.
Looking upstream we observe a flock of white geese floating around a bend in the river. Their reflection in the water is enhanced by the bright morning sun.
Before us is a tree embedded in the river. There is a synchronicity here. Only yesterday we were visiting friends and had occasion to select a watercolour painting from an art folio of original works. The tree before us has an uncanny resemblance to the tree in the painting.
We take the urn with Adam’s ashes and spread them on the water. Instead of flowing downstream with the current the ashes settle on the river bed. They have become one with the river. We are overcome with emotion, joy and sadness in equal measure.
We pause to reflect. We hear the water rippling over the granite pebbles; we see the sun’s rays dancing on the surface of the water. The river has become for us a living memorial and this section of the river, a sacred site.