you can’t lie to yourself when you are walking

walking

My favourite mode of transport – my feet.

I like walking. I do my best thinking when I walk. I have my best thoughts. I process stuff. I see interesting things.* I couldn’t walk there for a while (about 18 months) because I had a pesky injury  which precluded walking, much to my horror,…but it’s better now and so I’m back to the way of the plod, foot over foot.

* (You have to walk without music, though, and without your phone in your claw. Put it away, for the sake of all that is holy, or better yet, leave it at home.)

I live in a very flat town. I miss hills. I’ve lost my hill-fitness (I know this because of the walks I take each time I’m back in Wellington.) I miss not knowing what is up ahead because of the terrain. Manawatu is big sky country. You can see for miles up ahead.

The best place I ever lived for walks was up a hill in Newtown in Wellington. The green belt was about fifty metres from my back door. I could be high up in the pines with an grand urban vista within a few minutes. Bloody lovely.

I also lived in Island Bay for a brief spell and when I moved there I swore I would walk along the beach every day, and I did, in all kinds of weather with a baby in tow.

No sea here, no hills, but still there is stuff to see, places to go.

I like reading about other people walking. I’ve read quite a few memoir about the Camino. I love Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve read the Peace Pilgrim book. No Destination is another fascinating memoir of a long, long walk.

A recent walk around Lake Taupo – Willow trees and rowboats…

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So, with all this love of walking, I was fascinated to read this essay over at Dark Mountain blog recently about the Dutch artist Monique Besten who has made walking part of her artistic practice and process. Like Peace Pilgrim and Satish Kumar, she is walking to make a political/spiritual point. She wears a men’s three-piece suit (the ‘soft armour’ of her essay) which she embroiders along the way. She is refusing speed and fear and comfort in order to go very slowly across Europe, meeting people, finding things, making art along the way.

Right now she is walking from the Netherlands to the south of France. She expects it to take 99 days. She is 17 days into her trip and she is blogging it. You can read it HERE. Go back to the start and read it chronologically, perhaps…

I am enjoying it so much! It’s like the books I mentioned above, except with the extra thrill of being in real time, so each update is an account of her day.

Wonderful rich stuff for the fantasy life of the domestically tethered.

Lake mirrors sky – Lake Taupo…walking_4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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an everyday dreamer

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(Sweet peas from my garden. I planted them amongst the bean vines.) 

I was trawling my photographs looking for blog inspiration and I thought – Geez, there are so many random shots which aren’t really ‘about’ anything….’

…and there I found this post.

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(Friends of mine have a red window at the end of their hallway, which imbues the outside world with a trippy feel…) 

Superficially, my life could look quite dull. I live in a small city with a reputation for mediocrity. I live in an urban bungalow, parenting two kids and trying to cling on to my creative life while I do it.

But it’s rich in my head, folks, rich and vivid and alive and busy….the only way I can stop my whirling mind is yoga, especially savasana which I is why I have taken to it so intently – it’s less about the physical practice for me and more about the break from my brain.

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(My friend made this paver in a mosaics class we took together years ago. I am not sure about my new gold nail-polish.) 

So long as your inner life is rich and interesting, what does the outer life matter, especially?

& my shitty little Canon Ixus is like an extension of my mind – creating/capturing the world as I see it…which is a world of colour, beauty and random excellence.

Images are doing far more for me than words lately. Increasingly words are inept for all that sifts through me.

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(My brother, a blokey-bloke with big builder’s hands, decorated the Christmas pavlova and was so sweetly pleased with it and himself. An uncharacteristic moment.) 

 

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(A window in my local cafe. Yesterday I sat there with a coffee for over an hour, staring at this window and writing the world’s longest to-do list, post-school holidays.) 

I am an everyday dreamer.

My life is not particularly special/glamorous, but I am good at finding the special in it. It has taken me a long time to a) recognise this about myself and b) value it.

 

dahlia fan club summer 2014

Dahlias I have spied this summer in friends’ gardens, botanic gardens and municipal plantings – Otaki, Paekakariki, Palmerston North….

LET THE EYE-ORGY BEGIN:

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I was quite chuffed to snap a bee AND a butterfly together….

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This one – you will just have to believe me because there is nothing to indicate scale – was the summer-winner for gobsmackingly beautiful – in real life it GLOWED and it was as big as a dinner plate, no lies. (That’s why it’s almost on the ground – the plant could not support it’s heft.)

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sitting a house

Here are some photographs of the house we sat on our holiday. It belonged to a friend-of-a-friend so was not familiar to us – hence it had that nice mysteriousness of the home of someone you only slightly know. It was a great place for a holiday. I love house-sitting more than motels/hotels. All the comforts and personality of a real home is much more restful to me than an anonymous hotel room. I’m a bit of a nester!

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Candy Floss Trees

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These trees are all in leaf now, but a coupla weeks back we took a walk to the Victoria Esplanade to check out the Cherry Blossoms and they didn’t disappoint. Candy-tufted trees looking all ridiculously Dr. Seuss-like.

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I think I’ve mentioned before, Jolie Holland has a song called ‘Springtime Can Kill You’ and I feel like I really went through it this spring, with a long bout of illness which dragged on for almost six weeks….but I’m through the worst of it now and we’ve had some glimpses of summer, and today the wind stopped long enough for me to get the prize plants I posted about yesterday into the garden.

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It’s been a year since I finished my job at the library and have been working from home. I do love being able to stop work to go and plant some vegetables or get the laundry in, to be able to deal with life-tasks as they occur to me, not to have to wait to ‘after work’, and in the last couple of months, I’ve put a toe back in the world of activism after a long break…it feels pretty nice to be working with some inspiring people to make the world a better place.

Here’s one thing for sure – each day starts with a long list of tasks and aims and wishes and demands on me…..and when I rest my head on my pillow at the end of the day, I never see the end of that list…..but I am getting much better at living with the endless list and not feeling stressed about it. Life is full. I carry what I can and try to make sure what falls off is nothing too important.

I felt like I got really behind when I was sick, but then a friend said to me ‘Give up the idea you will someday ‘catch up’ with life, if you believe that, you will always feel like a dog chasing it’s tale.’ (I have very wise friends.)

There’s a Buddhist idea that instead of stressing and worrying, we should just turn our attention to today and then do ‘the next right thing’….

….quite often for me, ‘the next right thing’ involves making more tea. (Work-horses need good fuel.)

I’m glad to have made it through another spring!

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magnolia walk (2)

On my magnolia walk, I came across some other interesting things…

1. The most glorious lemon tree which gave me severe lemon-tree-envy. I left behind a similarly awesome lemon tree at my last house and inherited a gnarled sickly old one. Seeing this beauty made me decide to plant a new one. I love lemons! I hate having to buy them when they are everywhere (except my yard!)

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2. Possibly the worst business name in New Zealand. This is a funny little cake-decorating shop just around the corner from me. I did once buy a vanilla cupcake from there and it was very good, despite the terrible shop name.

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3. I noticed that despite most of the neighbourhood being california bungalows….there are quite a few little art deco houses – they are so dear in their flat-roofed boxiness:

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Finally, our neighbourhood is on a bus-route – the council doesn’t provide anything more than a small sign at these stops, but some wonderful civic minded, generous soul has put colourful benches at these bus-stops. Most of them are colourfully painted and one even has plants around it. How cool is that? Big love to whoever put them there!

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