The Wild West Coast

We took the train, crossing the South Island from Christchurch to Greymouth. A couple of easy days are planned, and we had time on the train to catch up on email, reading, sleeping and writing. Being with Carrie highlights how much I miss my children. All three are scattered, one in DC, another outside of Detroit, and this poet of ours in this magical place Down Under. I am trying to relish each moment with her.

Traveling these past few months has helped me define what I want my life to look like when this moving around is all done. Strange, I know, to be reconfiguring everything at the age of 62, but I guess I finally am tired of waiting. My friend Donna has a an adage: “If not now, when?” And I find myself asking that question every time I try to be practical, and feel the pull of delayed gratification. If I wait until later, at this point, I could easily run out of time. This was a lesson from my brother Jim’s death. At age 49, Jim passed away from cancer and time disappeared in a heartbeat. Much of my sadness when I think of him is the loss of what could have been.

So on this trip I have tried to embrace the opportunities, to see the beauty in everything- we came at the most amazing time, the beginning of summer for New Zealand. The lupin wildflowers only bloom in this month, and the Christmas tree of New Zealand, the pohutokawa, with its bright red flowers, looks like scarlet explosions on the green hillsides. Yesterday, we kayaked the Pororari River outside Punakaike, battling the river upstream for an hour and a half, and screaming with delight on the small rapids on the ride back. Both sides of the river were covered with rain forest vegetation, and it felt like the film set for Jurassic Park.

The sunsets near Punakaike have been amazing- easily some of the best I have ever seen. The clouds and colors were like a painting. I had the impulse to run down the beach, and buy the ocean front property that was for sale. I know now I have to live somewhere I can walk a dog on a deserted beach at sunset. Even better, however, was walking arm in arm with my daughter, talking about life.

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