New Zealand 2020 – Part 3

Today has been a day of four distinct quarters.

This morning, I had the great pleasure of reacquainting myself with some friends made over 30 years ago, and have not seen since 1990. I surprised them by turning up at their church and waiting at the entrance for them to arrive. I was rewarded by a huge smile and the words, ‘I know you! It’s Katrina!’, before being wrapped up in the first of several enormous hugs.

This lovely lady made me feel like the most special thing to have happened to her in a long while and as we chatted, she told me she had always considered me a special person and often thought of me over the years.

The older I get, the more I am of the opinion that amassing great fortunes, or having expensive things is NOT what we are put on this earth to do, and will ultimately leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled. However, to touch the hearts of others, and to love and be loved, is precisely what we were designed to do.

I came away from that meeting feeling humbled, but also lifted up. That sounds like a contradiction in terms, but I am nothing if not contrary!

After lunch, we drove out of Papakura to the Hunua Falls. As a much younger person, I used to come to this place reasonably often, and I knew exactly what to expect. However, I was surprised by the large number of people who had a similar idea. Back in the day, it was a much less well beaten track!

In the winter months, and after heavy rain, the falls increase in width to span the whole of the top of the falls. In the summer, however, it is a thinner ribbon of white. That being said, it still lets out a mighty roar as the water rushes inexorably over the edge.

We took a short walk through the surrounding bush. The lush New Zealand foliage did not disappoint.

The sky was overcast, but became increasingly, and unusually dark. As we left, an eerie yellow hue had crept into the shadows, giving everything a sepia stain. The tragic reason for this is the terrible bush fires that have been ravaging Australia since last November. The whole of Auckland and many of its outer reaches had been affected by a plume of smoke which had traveled thousands of kilometres and which had blocked the sun and filtered out the blue light in the spectrum.

While the strange skies we were experiencing were a little unsettling (especially for the wildlife), it was nothing compared to the horror the Australian people are going through, and a reminder to take nothing in life for granted.

In the late afternoon, I drove from Papakura to Cambridge to visit some ex-pat English friends. Years ago, I regaled them with too many stories of how wonderful New Zealand is, and after a while they took me at my word and decided to emigrate! England’s loss is New Zealand’s gain – and has the added advantage of an extra reason (if one were needed) to come back to visit!

I enjoyed the drive down, and had to chuckle at some of the road names that I feel could only be found in this brilliant country!

It definitely lived up to its name!

Thought For the Day

Since you’ve been gone, I’ve not given up overthinking.

Did you think I might? You should know me better by now.

I’m not a complete sucker for the inspirational quotes that have flooded the world since the advent of the internet. My interest in them is passing, and only occasionally am I sufficiently struck by the amateur philosophy that clutters my various news feeds, that I am moved to ‘share’ it.

There are those who seem to spend their whole online existence posting endless quotable quotes, meaningful memes and inspirational inserts, that you might wonder whether they are human, or one of those bots that websites try to catch out with random captchas to make sure they are actually a person. I have to admit, it can be a little tiresome. Not to mention surreal. Can you imagine having a coffee with a friend and instead of conversation, have them recite a series of unrelated passages from random sources? Mad.

Yet even as I say that, I am mentally chastising myself. After all, much, if not all, of what we enjoy in popular culture is trying to deliver a message. We don’t hesitate to recommend a book we have enjoyed. And lyrics to our favourite songs inspire us to tell all who will listen what they mean to us. Indeed, I remember countless conversations we had that literally revolved – and evolved – around songs and how they spoke to our innermost thoughts and feelings. So to dismiss these sound bites so readily smacks a little of snobbery. Bottom line, if it means something to someone, why shouldn’t they spread the love?

Recently, I am looking for meaning in everything. But trying to fill a huge void that refuses to be anything other than empty is no mean feat. And in the words of Mick Jagger, I can’t get no satisfaction. So maybe I can be forgiven for being more than usually drawn to the quotes that tug on my emotions as they scroll past my eyes.

The one above struck a chord with me today. If you find someone who will be there through the worst of times, as well as the good – that is something precious and should not be quickly discarded. And if they must be discarded, remember that those who truly care will still be there, where you left them, whenever they are needed. Of course, everyone has the choice to walk away. But choosing to care, despite the circumstances, is a rare thing indeed.

I choose to care.

Stay gold.

The Calling Card

Who I am and what I’m worth
Came calling by today
Reminding me to dim my lights
And keep my dreams at bay
The mirror that they held in place
Showed just how much you care
And how my foolish secret hopes
Are so empty and unfair

I only have myself to blame
For letting my thoughts stray
The truth was always plain to see
And never far away
But this still twists my heart in knots
And pains my very core
Yet I would do it all again
If you wanted me once more

This is the sad pathetic fact
Of what I feel for you
You only have to ask of me
And anything I’d do
But knowing you won’t need to call
Or seek my company
Leaves me lost and inside-out
And to never more be free

The Missing Piece

She thought that it was finished,
She thought it was complete,
But the piece that lay within her reach,
That was brand new,
Unknown,
A breech
Of all she had imagined true,
Was telling her of something new

She was surprised to find it,
She was amazed it fit,
But the puzzle changed before her eyes,
It altered all,
Transformed,
Despised
Those things she had imagined true,
And told her there was something new.

She knew she could not keep it,
She knew it was not hers,
But the absent piece she hadn’t missed,
Until he came,
Unsought,
Gifted
A glimpse of something pure and true,
And left her ever changed and new.

Suck it Up and Keep Moving

Since you’ve been gone, there have been some hard lessons to learn.

And one thing I have realised, is that the old adage about time healing wounds is a complete crock of crap. The more time that passes, the more that it hurts. Maybe it’s just me? I’ve always been out of step with the rest of society. So perhaps I’m the exception who proves the rule? Perhaps I live in some kind of parallel universe where the mirror image is true? Whatever. All I know is that each day gets harder, not easier.

There are so many things I want to tell you. So many things left to say. So many adventures left to share. Except no. Not any more. I’ve been cut adrift and the waters are growing increasingly choppy. It’s hard, lonely and scary out here.

Ironically, if I could talk to you, I know you would understand exactly what I am saying. Because you get me. Like no one else ever did. And no one else ever will.

Are you hurting too? It’s not that I want you to hurt – far from it. But I can’t bear that it’s only me who is in such great pain. Are you unhappy too? It’s not that I want you to be miserable – not at all. But it tortures me that this misery is all one sided. And I will never know those answers, will I. Which is part of what keeps me paralysed in this despair.

To be honest, I’m struggling to suck it up. And I haven’t got to the keep moving forward part. I don’t actually know how to do it. But I know I have to try.

I guess, as Merle Haggard sang:
‘I’ve got to keep goin’
Traveling down this lonesome road
And I’ll be rollin’ with the flow
Goin’ where the lonely go.’

Stay gold.

Message Memories

I used to rush each morning
Were there messages to see?
Had you had a thought-wave you were keen to share with me?
I used to hold my breath until the screen displayed your name
And smile a kilo wattage grin
When you wanted me the same

I used to check so often
Had you something else to say?
Was there music you had written before time got in the way?
I used to hope and cross my heart in superstitious lark
And have my heart leap in my chest
When you had left your mark

I used to wait each evening
Would you come and chat awhile?
To tell me of your day and ask what happened throughout mine?
I used to relish the pure joy of time spent with my friend
And never thought that one day
It would all come to an end

I’ll always long to see you
Will you have a change of heart?
Will everything we had convince you that we shouldn’t part?
I still search for the words to pop up on my mobile phone
Telling me you miss me
And no more I’ll be alone.