I sat staring out the window as we rode through the countryside, green hill after green rolling hill dotted with sheep and trees that reminded me of the Oregon landscape. The buzzing cicadas and occasional palm tree told me I was far from there, however. The sky went on forever, robust white clouds entangled and stretching across from east to west. We'd found ourselves on a bus to Raglan, home of the best surf spot in New Zealand, along with a couple dozen schoolchildren who were headed to their homes there for the day from classes in the city. A little voice with a charming Kiwi accent broke through the rest of the young chattering, and I listened in to what the boy was telling the girl sitting next to him...
"I see those floaty things everywhere right now!" I knew right away what he was talking about... those singular starry puffs that float around, looking similar to the head of a dandelion, that I'd never seen so many of until I'd gotten to this country.
"My cousin says that if you can catch one, and hold it real tight, and pray to God, then set it free, your wish will come true."
Now of course I've heard similar things before and of course done them, but hearing this little boy saying it as if it was a brand new idea, something to capture the imagination and carry out the very next chance he got... I couldn't wait to capture my first New Zealand "floaty thing" and set free my own wish.
They fly all over the country; the north island, the south, inland in the mountains and out by the beaches... I've caught most every one that's come my way and followed that boy's instructions.