I was travelling up from Christchurch and SH1 which was open for a limited time. How lucky was I to take the direct route?! What was best of all was really getting a feel for just what an amazing effort had been put into getting Kaikoura and its people back on the map, and I wanted to witness that re-emergence in person.
I was seeing the journey with fresh eyes: there were roadworks a-plenty; it was 30+ degrees and there were all these people sweating their day in searing heat to help reach the goal of reopening SH1 by 15th December.
The 4-minute waits at traffic lights became positive pauses to really appreciate the efforts being made to re-build the damaged roads.
Driving wasn’t without its challenges:
I slowed for a 30kph stretch where a spur created a blind corner and I felt vulnerable to someone ignoring the speed limit and landing unceremoniously up my vehicle’s backside! I tucked myself in tightly to the ‘kerb.’ The wait this time was longer than previously and as I sat with my finger on my warning lights ‘just in case’….my concerns were validated (or realized!) by the sound of screeching brakes as the rubber hit the road and a car ground to a halt rather too-close behind. ‘A miss is as good as a mile’ – I would have preferred the mile rather than a couple of centimetres!
Mangamaunu was my actual destination, and it was great to arrive and enjoy the immediate calm invoked by the bright blue bach so typical of Kiwi culture. As I crossed the railway line to reach the ocean and my friends frolicking like porpoises in the sea, I was immediately drawn into holiday-mode. The wild beach, the surf, salt and sand held the three generations together as if the years had melded into one. While some deftly surfed the waves without a care in the world, others floated and flipped on, and often under, the forgiving boards! The smallest member of the family seemed to enjoy the salty taste and gritty texture of the sand until her big brother decided it was time for her to have a swimming lesson and firmly carried her in a most ungainly fashion towards the breaking waves….that is, until a somewhat apprehensive adult came to the rescue!
The time flew by with our soaking up the changing tides, the sunsets, blinding sunrises and nightly trains only to awake to walk the lark-like children along the seashore, rock-jumping and squealing with delight as the chasing breakers sent them running to the safety of the shore. Once tired and soon well-fed, they went to rest awhile which enabled us to relax and enjoy a chilled beverage with time to talk and chew the fat.
The weekend was a delight: we came together as friends and family, each ‘dancing’ with another as we intuitively shared the catering, caring and capering in whichever form appealed and at whatever time….it was all so peaceful and easy, even when the young were cranky from change of routine and over-excitement. Perhaps this ‘ease’ was because we’d left our responsibilities, worries and demands behind for a few days – there was no phone coverage or wifi, no busy-ness and no other distractions or demands to steal away our focus. It was great.
At the end of the day, we relaxed with comfortable chatter until, sun-kissed and well-exercised, we settled down with the stars and headed off to bed.
Now is the time to think beyond the intense demands of Christmas and the year-end and notice what we need by way of replenishment as we head for the holidays – however short or long. This quote, called ‘Failing to notice…..’ is attributed to RD Laing* and is a good place to start:
The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice,
That we failed to notice,
There is little we can do to change,
Until we notice how failing to notice,
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.
The reality of seeing the damage from the Kaikoura earthquake moved me hugely when I saw it first-hand. I hope you may have the chance to be there too. My thanks to everyone who have done so much this last year to re-build and ‘re-open’ Kaikoura.
Finally, ‘Thank-you’ to all those who have supported me both personally and professionally this year, you have enabled me to make my mobile venture work. I hope you have a well-deserved break over Christmas and the New Year and I look forward to catching up again in 2018.
*RD Laing : a psychiatrist who inspired Daniel Goleman, psychologist, and was requoted in his book ‘The Psychology of Self-Deception.’
With thanks to Rob Foss for the lead photo 🙂
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