Bags are packed. I have a nervous gnawing in my stomach. I always feel like this before we go away. I know the dogs will have a good time. The little dog just stomps off in the excited chaos that she shows when she sees someone she knows. There are puppies to be played with. Atlas turns back and veers towards me. I stop myself from reaching out and grabbing him. It seems almost ironic that he does this now. It took a long time for him to bond with us. He simply put was an awful puppy. I say this after years of training and know in my heart that he is one of the kindest souls I know with a small dash of idiot. We are close, him and I, and this is the longest we have been apart since pre Covid. We’ve got comfortable in our ways together. They move on to behind the gate to echos of barking. We return to the car. The road trip begins.
The idea of a cup of tea and a conversation is something that I feel is central to this space. I know distance means I can’t do that with you in person so I like to think that when I sit down to write, a cup of tea is not far from me. So to have a moment when we stopped in Wanaka to sit with a reader of this newsletter and have a tea was simply put the best. We sat and chatted over tea. Shared dreams, woes and plans in no set order. Words jumbled out. There is a simple beauty in spending time with another soul who’s thoughts and principles align with your own. It is a cherished moment. To see is to be seen.
Always know I am free for a cupper if you are ever in the area.
We walked. We walked for 8 kms around Lake Dunstan, hills looming in the background, contrasting with the deep blue of the lake. It was warm and the lake was still, hinting at summer days to come. I wear my t-shirt and forgo the sun hat (woolly hat was packed but not the sun hat who knew), something I won’t consider doing in a month’s time. At night, before bed, when I wash my face at the end of the day, I notice my freckles have returned. Standing at attention, announcing summer is a breath away. We walk fast, not normally my style and I have a blister or two by the end of the day but my walking buddy need to share words unsaid and that had been building up for a while. I walk fast to keep up and listen, it is all I can offer her as a means of support. The words spill out at speed as the landscape offers her comfort and peace. When we arrive at our destination, Carrick Winery. We are greeted with olives and water. People are scattered in the lawn like creatures emerging from hibernation. In a way they are. At this time of year we are all anxious leave winter behind. We eat lunch, risotto with pear, walnut and blue cheese with a wine to match. It is delicious and worth the walk. I want to doze on the lawn after we have eaten.
Sometimes we have moments in our life which are fraught. Actions of others overwhelm us and while on our road trip we found ourselves in one of these situations. The one thing that did provide solace was the landscape that surrounded us as we drove through the middle of the South Island. Weather wise it was perfect for such a trip. The roads weren’t busy and the landscape was majestic. As we drove along trying to understand and make sense of what was going on around us, the land just was. Might and strong, it was also immensely peaceful and peace was what we needed. It was a tonic for our bruised souls.
We return home, more weary than when we left. The garden greets me and I am so happy to be back with it. Once the car is unloaded I dash about the place looking at what has bloomed in my absence. I spy a Columbine - the first to flower. It is so sweet as too are the anemones that were small buds when I left, Some things have faded. The daffidols which I have been weirdly obsessed with this year are almost done. As are the tulips that were in full flush when I left. They are now shrinking into themselves, their petals twisting into patterns I can’t help finding beautiful. The lawn has grown. It demands mowing and it will be, the smell iof freshly cut grass is such a hopefully scent. We will let it grow long when the clover is in flower, allowing it to be a foraging haven for the bees. The flower beds are starting to fill in. Brown soil is replaced with green foliage. I love this moment when everything is growing getting ready for the first flowering act. It will soon be bursting with blooms. I can’t wait.
I absolutely agree - home is where the heart is. Ali x