We left Dublin October 2nd, and flew back to Chicago, exhausted but happy to be going home. Coming back was both wonderful and, at the same time, disconcerting. At first glance, nothing seemed changed. On the other hand, everything I use to know seemed different. Returning to the States seemed surreal, made even more strange by coinciding with the Vegas shooting.
The past two months have been a “break” of sorts from writing the blog. We have travelled between Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Washington, D.C. Our children and friends have been most gracious, tolerating our perpetual nomadic state, in exchange for just a bottle of wine and night of conversation. We were able to catch up with the people we love and missed while on the trip. I was relieved to have the chance to say a final goodbye to my Aunt Shirley, and to see extended family that gathered to celebrate her life.
We are now in New Zealand, visiting our middle child, Carrie. This is our second trip to New Zealand, and it is sizing up to be amazing. Our first day at Carrie’s house in Auckland we took a trip out towards the Waitakere Ranges, to Te Henga. We hiked a three mile trail through pasture and nature preserve, petting horses along the way, until we reached the black sand beach known as Bethels Beach. (You know you are in New Zealand when you write sentences like that! ) A jumping picture was necessary. (See above)
Yesterday, we travelled to Katkati and our first airbnb. After our afternoon naps, we drove down past the town of Tauranga to McClaren Falls to go night kayaking and view the glow worms. In certain parts of New Zealand, colonies of glow worms, tiny larvae that glow in the dark, can be viewed after dusk. Usually found near water, the worms form various patterns on the rocks above the lake’s water line. Our tour group of 12 paddled quietly through the lake to a river gorge to view the magical light show- almost like tiny Christmas lights suspended in the dark.
When we glided back out on the lake, a full moon was out, something the guides indicated was unusual. Despite the bright light of the moon outlining a few clouds, Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper were visible. I didn’t want the tour to end. I took a deep breath and I imagined that Aunt Shirley, and everyone in my life that has passed on, was right there with me, enjoying the immense beauty. I felt wrapped in complete peace.