Friday, 14 June 2019

Our Very Own Home Land

The last couple of months have been quite remarkable really- as we have established the restorative rhythms of visiting "the land" firmly in to our lives. Many people have dreams & plans to travel to particular places all over the world, and really, it's astonishing that in this age, almost anyone can do so- if they have a mind too. But the funny thing is, that as we journey on in life together- more & more we find we have a no desire to travel abroad & a greater & greater compulsion to explore the land all around us in our own city; our own province of Hawke's Bay. As we go out in to the countryside- to the rivers and the beaches and the forests and the wild places; the familiar places & those we never even knew existed before, we find a deeper & deeper sense of grounding & homecoming weaving our lives together in coherence, meaning, purpose & healing. The more we show up, the more we are met with open arms & provision & a breathy sigh- of "Thank goodness you're here. Welcome!". It's a remarkable & unexpected phenomenon. Our lives & memories will never be the same again. At last we are able to surrender the past of our origins- all the prickliness & ostracism, the factions & unacceptability that was our lot & that was thrown at us in a myriad different forms. Quietly now we close the door on loss & rudeness & settle in to a whole new way of being.
I think perhaps this little holiday of a few days at Kairakau in early April was a real turning point.
We now see our own land through the eyes of the sacred & the heart of belonging & that, can never be taken away from us.
So here, I am once more, writing our story- recording our journey home.
It only takes about 40 minutes to get to Kairakau beach from our place and the weather was pretty variable and crazy, yet we had the most wonderful time and we've been talking about & recalling our adventure ever since.
Good old salt-of-the-earth Mo had set the fire and the mouse trap and ensured we had everything that we might need for a happy stay. A retired orchardist he was on the go the whole time we were there- taking care of everything & everybody in this little Central Hawke's Bay seaside settlement.
When you travel by car, you can take whatever you like- well almost. We stopped at a little organics place just out of Waipawa & found these lovely little flowers for $4.50. I stood with my mouth open for a second and said "What $4.50!" Then, gratefully paid for them.
Sometimes small places harbour quirky interesting people (no not Rob). There's a mosaic lady out here who's very clever and left her mark all over the show.
Just along the very short road at the beachfront you cannot help but notice the track going- up!  The only thing is- that track doesn't look nearly so steep when you observe other people going up it, as it actually is when you try to do the same. 
So when we looked at each other and said "shall we?" we had no idea that when we got half way up, scrambling in the howling wind with all that slippery grass, that neither of us might feel safe to contemplate coming back down again & I didn't fancy skidding down on my bottom! I was pretty sure that tumbling might occur, so we decided there had to be another way.
So up & up we went- thinking that if we headed along the top of the cliffs we must surely find another route down any time soon.
No, not that way Rob.
There were a few fast words about now- I can you tell.
We had two options (or so we thought) keep going across the cliffs to the next bay & walk back along the beach, or head across the farmland & catch up with the road over "there" & hope it took us "home". Those smooth paddocks were, in fact, puggy & deeply pocked but eventually we made it down to the road before dark...
just in time to see Mrs Tiggywinkle wander across the lawn to greet us.
Fortunately we had thought of a nice simple dinner before heading off & that ginger scrumpy certainly went down a treat.
The following day we decided to take a drive to the next beach around the coast.
It turned out that that beach was called Mangakuri & although we've lived here for 30 years, we'd never heard of it before.
We foraged rosehips & sand dune baby potatoes!
Naked ladies seemed appropriately sited in the dunes.
As we traveled the unsealed country roads we came across a dear little very old church at Mangakuri.
We were amazed to find that it was open.
It seemed a bit peculiar to find thousands of dead flies all over the floor & we wondered if anyone had been here in recent months- years even!
Later I discovered that there had, in fact, been a delightful celebration only the previous weekend.
A gathering of a House of Bishops no less!

It's quite handy being the passenger & to be travelling at a sedate speed, so as not to miss a thing- so when I realised that the crunch & scrunch under the car wheels was the crushing of chestnuts I called for a halt & we were soon greeted by a keen little friend.
We gathered piles of enormous sweet chestnuts & walnuts just from the roadside as we passed through Waipari station.
The next beach is Pourerere. What an unexpected sight it was to see these three standing here gazing out to sea.
We had no idea the rich history tucked in to this sandy cove. For a young nation - this place is our grass roots.
We didn't like the beach itself very much. There's not the cosy community feel of Mangakuri. Pourerere felt plain & unwelcoming even though some of the landscape was starkly beautiful.

It wasn't until we were leaving that we discovered
a mysterious gateway with a sign about another old church. Like many before us (we were to later discover) we unsuspectingly wandered up through the old overgrown garden to see what we might find at the top....
oh-oh, the church had been sold & it was now someone's home.
Quickly we turned tail & scuttled back down to safety.
But, all was not lost, as directly across the road was yet another gate with a sign- "Pourerere Church Knoll"
So up the path we wandered- again...past the masses of stinking iris (Iris foetidissima)
& found a lovely little church graveyard
sun dial
..filled with interesting bits of local history.
Having learned of the wonderful healing benefits of elm recently I was intrigued to see this elm stump & how with a last fading pulse of vitality this old tree had woven itself a crown atop it's mortal wound.
What resilience!
We barely met another vehicle on these lovely back roads as we tiki-toured around.
We got back to Kairakau just in time to dash across the river at low tide 

arrested by showers & rainbows in the journey

before scrambling up to the look out on the other side. 

Flying home again...
we found mushrooms to add to our baby potatoes for our dinner.
On our gentle journey home the next day we stopped to forage the most delicious pears I have ever eaten.
And three different kinds of wild apples..
some that like to make nests.
The hawthorn berries were in abundance too, although they cannot be picked quickly- for the thorns.
The rich abundance we came home with we are still eating months later.

We can't wait to go back & explore the area again. This lovely old historic bach has rather captured our hearts.

Perhaps we'll get to stay there, maybe we'll just picnic at the church knoll. However it all unfolds it'll be a grand adventure for sure, in this land we've come to love with all our hearts.

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