Country Living – Falling in love with my whenua

While the world has been spinning around me for the last three winters, I have been busy. Around 70km per week busy. Walking and jogging myself into complete midlife crisis oblivion, a blissful epiphany that grew inside my heart, right here at home, on my beloved Kaipara Harbour. What started as a commitment, quickly became an addiction, and while the health benefits for my body are self-explanatory, they rapidly became just the mere by-product of an insatiable appetite to feed my newfound mental clarity and sense of being.

These are the real drivers that push my body along day after day on its incredible new life journey. I’m constantly finding new and intense details in my seemingly barren and repetitive surrounds, now as never before, the tiniest elements of nature and the smallest of changes within it, sends skyrockets of wonderment ricocheting inside my brain and bursting out my imagination. A full-blown addiction that is fuelled by the drugs of my natural world – my whenua. My new space in this world is like a crazy, exciting storybook that is bound together by the personal metaphors I derive from the nature that engulfs me. My new lens now focuses on developing my forever love stories, as you will see. In bare feet I roam – mostly alone. The nakedness of my soles massaging against her vast tidal flats, is my connection and intimacy to the soul of this harbour.

Today is very cold and “My Lady” (the Harbour) is restless, dark skies abound and a storm is all around, the tide is high and the rain in firing down. I move slowly into her as the water rises to my thigh, my feet are freezing, but melt into her muddy floor like ice-cream atop of pavement on a hot summer’s day. Below the surface of her bed I move, my stride high and long as I wish not to disturb the gentle billowing sheets wafting across her from the prevailing winds.

Wading forward, I watch as flocks of migratory birds come to land on her, a devoted pair of Mallard ducks on a date fly down and wait while the dark clouds begin to escape. With the curtains drawn and the sun peeking through to shine I rest a minute and take my place to watch what I call my natural theatre delight. It’s showtime for a performance of Swan Lake. The black swans have come back to present another season of their ballet. Gracefully they glide and pirouette on the water, long necks reaching to the sky, elegant fully stretched wings skim the ripples of the tide. The dark clouds move in again, a curtain call; as the thunder claps, all the birds begin to fly, it’s a standing ovation in the sky.

I surge forward in the water until I reach and reach the sandy shore where my lady is exposed to the Tasman Sea. She is wild, rampant, running free. The rain hammers down on me as I pick up my pace, the vision through my spectacles fractures like broken glass from the giant baubles of rain that are hurled at them through the wind.

My vision is blurred, but for the first time I can see with a mind that is longing to be. Now my imagination kicks into hyper-drive as my body warms inside of me. Big curly waves crash the shore, bringing with them decorations galore, shells, driftwood, and seaweed scatter recklessly – perhaps my lady is bringing a party unto thee? The howling wind blows the seas foaming bubbles across in front of me and to the left of me there are more decorations to see.

The sandy dunes with their torn away faces have exposed the long tangly roots of native grasses. Natures party streamers dangle so pretty in high places. Kilometres continue to move beneath my soles when I stumble across the coloured party balloons. Blue bottle jellyfish displaced from the storm lie on their backs and puff their little bellies into the sky. Minerals in the sand and raindrops sparkle, are they disco balls or is it a dream? I pull my headphones down as my hair takes the hand of the wind and dances. Leonard Cohen brings me the sound– Hallelujah. I run, twirl and spin, all alone in my imaginary world, jumping over jellyfish balloons and chasing the wind.

So magical is my world I slow my pace and fall to my knees, and in the howling wind and rain, I reach my arms to the sky and from the edge of the Kaipara Harbour I draw from her lips Hall-elu-jah. So that’s the end of my party for today, but please don’t go away I have so much more to say. Next time let me tell you about, the Kaipara Louvre and her art, the naked lady sunbathers on display, the boxing crabs and the hands of the Grinch. See you next month, when my whenua comes back to play.