woke up to pink cotton candy in the sky as i looked out the window. i laid in bed and stared, losing myself in the clouds that brought up a memory, a happy childhood one, of the very first time i tasted a wisp of that finely spun sugar. the sweetness that coursed through my body back then made me smile from ear to ear just like the smile i got from watching the sun rise. birds break the reverie and beckon me to get up and at 'em for it's a a brand new day!
i've traded in the lavish tree house on a hill for a modest cottage in the bush, smaller but no less comfortable. i can imagine how henry david thoreau might have felt being surrounded by nature on walden pond. though i don't have a pond, there is a bonus room downstairs, where hannah, my lovely host, teaches yoga. i know thoreau didn't have that!
the place i've been calling home for the last couple of weeks is in ostend, beautifully green, incredibly zen. the cicadas sing all day long and birds join in with their chirps, warbles, and tweets (better than trump's). nice, huh? the path outside my door invites me in, and the walks open my eyes to the natural cycle of life, death, and re-birth. just to break things up, i sometimes take the road going west and a half hour later, i spy hills, valleys, vineyards, and horses! then there's the ocean, never far away, one of the many benefits of being on an island. i sit and gaze out into the horizon, and there are no more questions, no more answers, no more need. a beach, a book, the sun. what more can i ask for?
"well… how about an adventure?" a little voice whispers. i think about it for awhile and wonder if i'm ready to branch out. the thought of leaving makes me sad because it's so grown on me. the tranquility, the sights, the scents are all so easy on the senses, as are the people, who are warm, friendly, and kind. even a week of clouds, winds, and torrential rain, biblical at times, did nothing to dampen my experience here. in fact, it may have enhanced it because once the sun and blue skies returned, so did the smiles as everything appeared sparkling and clean, shiny and luminous.
after having been cooped up in the house for so long, i walked into ostend's center for a hearty meal at the rsa (royal new zealand returned and services' association), which is another community center with a cafe, a bar, and a game room. i wolfed down a plate of lamb shank with seasonal veggies, that was lovingly prepared by yvonne, then lingered awhile to watch a game of indoor bowling. although i am invited to join in, i looked at the time and hurried across the street instead for a date with a dark chocolate mascarpone pastry at franco's, an italian bakery, before they closed. it was love at first bite, but i felt guilty for i was cheating on my other love, the ricotta and nutella pie!
on the stroll back home, i stopped because a man was draining the flood in his yard, and the water was gushing out covering the sidewalk. he saw me hesitate to get my shoes wet and offered to carry me across. we both laughed as i quickly tip-toed to the other side. as i continued on my way, it occurred to me that i hadn't encountered that sort of chivalry in a very long time. that made me smile A LOT, and is just one of the many reasons that this island has endeared itself to me.
however, i sense it's time to go. although this mostly isolated existence has served me well, it may have become a little too comfortable, and i risk becoming a hermit, the island eccentric. this is not necessarily a bad thing, but i'd rather not give in to the temptation of building walls again, hiding behind them, and believing i am safe. been there, done that. don't wanna go back. besides, i'm curious to see what else goes on in this fascinating land. what more is there to discover and learn in this country? i'm bettin' plenty.
"i can always come back" i tell myself, and "this will help me grow" i repeat over and over as i pack my bags once again. tomorrow i'll board a bus going south to mount manganui, where i will meet up with friends, sophia, liam, and basil, three of the tracc/pom pom island volunteer/diver/educator extraordinaires, i met in tawau last year. i'm looking forward to great big hugs, nice long chats, and continuing my travels with them. i'm also looking forward to shaking things up, breaking routines, and expanding my world beyond my comfort zone.
as i walk out the door, i'll remind myself…
Every blade of grass has it's Angel
that bends over it and whispers,
— The Talmud
did that make you smile? it makes me, every single time 🙂
thanks for reading!
* photos are on google.