How do you say goodbye?

I attended a farewell for an industry leader this week, I shall call her Ms X for privacy reasons. Her knowledge is technically accurate and her vision is focused on strategic and systemic change. But it is not for these reasons that she will be missed. Ms X is one of the passionate professionals I’ve ever met – she is one of those people who is genuinely interested in the success and wellbeing of others.

As is the tradition in Aotearoa New Zealand, the floor was opened up to anyone who wanted to share their thoughts and memories in honour of Ms X. I delivered a three stanza poem, below I share the first 2 stanzas as the last one is personal to Ms X and my respect for her.

Forest people
When I walk in the forest
I am a child in the presence of greatness:
ancient tress provide my cloak.
The melody of the birds fills my heart,
trickling water shows me a path
to the valley's mighty river.
The forest if where my spirit is home
where I feel myself regenerate:
connected to the life forces of nature.

When I walk in the city
I am older than my years.
Concrete and glass tower over me
artificial lights provide competing
false directions, confusing my senses
and leading me to empty destinations.
The city is my address, but I am not at home here.
My souls calls out to the hills and the mist
and the spirit guides that dwell in the shadows.
Photo by zhang kaiyv on

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