When spending a day in aimless enjoyment of the surrounding scenery, of the sounds a soul makes when it hears all those birds, of the capital position of being, I get this remarkable lightness in my heels and begin to bound more than walk.

Sometimes, in between long conversations with myself, I opt for a spot of heel clicked and random dancing.

Christchurch was much this way. Lots of intermittent heel clicking, physical and metaphorical, in between long bouts of singing and self-talking.

My presence went unnoticed amidst the bush and Tuesday midmorning traversing, so I jaunted along the coast track in absolute serenity.

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When I wanted to stop, either from a long hill climb or from the absence of breathe I felt from the view around the bend in the trail, I stopped. When hungry, I took out some dark chocolate from my pack and nibbled. When I had a song in my head, I sang. When I came across a beautiful black border collie on Taylor’s Mistake beach, I asked his blessing and massaged his face.

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I had been alerted to the chillness of the South Island during winter, but thanks to the luck of the draw (or climate change) it was a lovely sort of day, a full 17 degrees celsius bounding through my hair and snuggling against my skin.

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I had a great deal to be thankful for, and it was only Tuesday.

Day Two of my four day adventure in Christchurch, and my soul was brimming with smiles. It is a particular enjoyment of mine to exist, and I had spent the previous evening and morning with souls who exist quite well indeed. John—a gardener, yogi, lover of music and colorful rugs—was my couchsurfing host and exuded a sense of presence that overflowed from his wire-rimmed blue eyes into me. Ciggy, a kindred spirit hailing from France, was staying with John as well.

The three of us made a wonderful trio.

Also a dinner of roasted garden veggies, seedy tahini citrus salad, and fresh ciabatta. That, paired with an 8.5% kiwi cider and “good vibes only”, made for an evening I hope to remember.

The morning featured much the same existence. All, upon waking, going to respective spots around John’s house to meditate. I, making a cup of coffee and writing stream-of-consciousness in the garden, John practicing yoga in the living room, Ciggy playing her flute and wearing a red hat on the side porch.

Then, very naturally, coming together and sharing breakfast. Literally sharing breakfast: John providing the muesli, seeds, almonds, and rice milk; Ciggy, the bananas, kiwis, and peanut butter; I, the bread and coffee. Our soundtrack was reggae and the promise of a good day.

When we talked, we talked in the present tense. When we didn’t talk, we swayed to the music.

I found myself, on Tuesday around noon, perched upon a soft grassy mound within spraying distance of the waves that crashed against the rocks and beach below me. The sun was strong upon my skin, and I felt the full power of having no obligation.

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No obligation to leave any time soon, to do any sort of work, to write anything or “be productive”. I had everything I needed; bread and peanut butter for when I got hungry, Tarzan the Magnificent for when I wanted to read, my notebook for when I had something to express.

The grass was soft and made a good pillow. I lay back and let the sun snuggle against me, not holding any thoughts or musings captive, just letting it all breathe. I thought, how necessary sunlight is.

How soft this grass.

How rhythmic the birds.

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I wrote some poetry—featuring serious transcendentalist vibes, which you may have noticed in the past couple of poems—and spent a few hours reading Tarzan. I imagined myself, too, a sort of stoic warrior, more interested with the jungle and the wild than the streets.

Eventually I picked my way back along the trail, some heel clicks, some dark chocolate nibbles.

I got back on the purple bus on which I had come, and returned to John’s house. Ciggy was playing the flute in the kitchen, cross legged, and John the guitar. They welcomed me with tea and smiles, and together we made dinner.

The same spirit of sharing, the same generosity. The same existence.

I came across a beautiful line in No Picnic on Mount Kenya that I mused upon quite often during my time in Christchurch. Here, Nature is talking to the narrator:

“You shall no longer share their misery, for in my world of solitude you have seen the shadow of eternity.

“I have given you riches which can never be confiscated even by the most exacting searches–self-reliance and a sense of proportion.

“The hard present, which at first you feared and then tried to overcome, is neither everything nor nothing; it is only a part of Time, and you will realize this later.”

John shared his home, his garden, his music, and his space with me. I left him a poem:

We are a thousand years old
and born again.
Over and over as the waves
upon the rocks
I am born.
To the beat of my hair
against my cheek
I am born.
As the gull sings as the sun
shines as the solitude reigns
I am born.

It is a peace I reach for,
with shaking fingers,
broken and cracked
I reach.
This peace, it climbs
from the grass I perch
to the soles of my feet.
Transcends my human
impatience,
knows how to treat me
far better than I.

We are a thousand years old
and born again.

 

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Peace and blessings,

Josie

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