Tales from the Road #6- Sparkly

This summer I have embarked on a 2 week solo roadie around the East Coast of our North Island. In normal times, this would be an absolute indulgence; but this year even more so. I am very aware of how privileged I am to be able to do this. And I’m trying to fill and appreciate every moment

I also decided to take this opportunity to challenge myself writing wise… and so decided to “freelance” my blog…. Am asking for suggestions for blog topics,  and then giving myself 36 hours to write and publish the blog.

So here we go….

This blog, was suggested by my sister, who said I was “sparkling in my newfound selfies”… And it was a description echoed by my bestie; so it seemed fitting to make it the penultimate blog of my trip….

“Every woman in this world wears a little Sparkle,

Some in their dress,

And some in their eyes

Shahla Khan

As I sit typing I glance on my keyboard, and I see  the remnants of the Christmas glitter shine back at me… It is well known I have a love of all things shiny; and I have been known to shed glitter in my wake. I like to think of it as my trademark sign……  a physical sign of what I hope is the fun, Love, kindness  and laughter I try to spread….

It’s not only the shiny sparkle of glitter I love… put me next to water and I’m mesmerised by the play of light on the ripples; and my love of the inter play of sun and water is legendary… a sunrise or sunset reflected in a pool is just magic to me.

People tell me I sparkle; and I kinda think I do.. but recent years have dulled my mirror ball a bit. This trip I have taken, and this writing I have done has been a chance to buff up that mirror ball again. I have feasted with friends; held new babies; sung in the car as the miles sped by; played cut throat cards; walked in some of the most beautiful places I have been… I’ve spent more time alone with myself, than I have in years, re-acquainting myself with Me.

I have to confess that although I was looking forward to it, I didn’t know how I’d really go with all that time alone. I interspersed the trip with visits with friends and whanau; and only spent 1 night off the grid; with no cell ph coverage. It turns out, I shouldn’t have been worried. I loved the solitude; and the silence; and the ability to spend as little or as long as I needed in a place. Apart from a loose itinerary, I had booked the nights accommodation I needed; I had made no plans. I decided I would make choices on the fly; turn down roads that looked interesting; and trusting my route to my GPS – “Find Rotorua/Te Aroha/Taupo” became the way I got to where I needed to be. If only life came with a similar system – “Find friends/children/a career”… Lol.

But I found more than just what was at the end of the road or the path. I re-found ghosts from my childhood, that I had long forgotten – Dad’s old work place; still standing, but dwarfed now by its shinier successors; The Ice cream parlour that made the best ice cream – perhaps the only time I’ve ever found something that was bigger than I remembered; the quiet, cool majesty of a line of Oak Trees – planted by someone of vision over 120 years ago. More beautiful and serene than child Chris ever appreciated. Muscle memory took me back to my Bestie’s house; were we had shared all our teenage angst; and I wandered the quads of the schools I had attended and realised all the things I had learned there, apart from my ABCs. I walked the beaches from my 20s; recalling the happiest days of my life, with that same wistful feeling that I wished I had appreciated them a bit more at the time….

But it wasn’t all looking backwards.. the second half was exploring places I had never been or certainly places that time had effectively erased memories of. There was so much natural beauty around every corner; that I was often found; leaning on a rail, spell bound… And starting early each day; meant that I had some of these treasures all to myself. I walked.. Damn did I walk! Up hills, across rivers; alongside boiling pools; underneath canopies and through the dark of old mine shafts. Testing all of my phobia boundaries – this was to be the trip of no excuses. I’m still not fond of tight places; and those swing bridges will still raise my pulse; but I did them; all of them… and there is a pride to be found in overcoming simple fears.

I had honest conversations; told people I love, more of my story. I stayed out until the sun was setting; and was up to see her rise the next day. I trusted the spirits to find me the places to see – and was never disappointed. And I slept; mainly better than I normally do. There were tears; there was many many smiles. I patted dogs; smiled at strangers and talked to the staff of the places I visited. And I wrote… both these blogs and some personal writing. The freedom to sit, drink in a view and write is such an indulgence, and I appreciated every moment….

A friend has shared memories from her roadie of Sept 2012,,, this is the quote se found in her Aunty Brenda’s house… we both think its fitting…

Great Aunt Betty 2012

Even turning home, could have been sad; but my final 2 days in the “Coolest Little Capital in the World; were filled with moments to treasure. A bonus day with my son; relishing time with this adult that I helped create; and a final few hours with my bestie of 48 years, whose wisdom cloaks me like  blanket. We cooed with the newest generation of her family; and laughed like the teenagers we once were together….

But this is a blog about sparkling……and like a handful of sea glass or shiny pebbles I have collected memories. Now they are shiny and new; but I know that I will keep them polished and will take them out for years to come..

And me? Well like that rather tired Mirror ball from the disco days of the 70s; I have started fixing the cracked panes; am gently shining up the rest… over the next few months I will check that all the bits are firmly adhered and that the hanging chain is strong….I don’t know where my life will be taking me, but have decided to keep trusting the spirits (and the GPS) to take me to the places I am meant to be going….

E huri tō aroaro ki te rā

Tukuna tō ataarangi ki muri a koe

Turn and face the sun

And let your shadows fall behind you

……home…..

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