Spiralling down the North Island

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With its cacophonous, steady presence I am endlessly grateful for the existence of the sea. Here on the southern tip of the North Island, the rising swells crash fearlessly onto rocks. I would not want to swim here. Instead, I want to explore where high tide crashes into Lake Onoko, I want to do yoga, watch the waves. I want to write.

Kate and I took a turn toward to the cape on our way to Wellington, the capital and largest urban centre on the southern part of the North Island. We’ve been sleeping in her car, crisscrossing the country on our way down. We pass rolling hills dotted with ewes and lambs furiously eating and we wind around narrow passes through the ranges. It’s been a spectacular drive.

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Yes, that is a herd of sheep being guided down the middle of the road, running from us as we passed them.

This morning I wake and crawl out of the car. I know my yoga mat is somewhere near Kate’s head and don’t want to wake her, rummaging around for it, so I settle for a sarong and walk five metres to the ocean shore. We slept in the campground alone last night. I spotted another car behind a fence across the field but we essentially had the place to ourselves. With a kilometer or two from the shore to the mountain range inland there is plenty of room for a flat curving road to take us down to the cape. A small cluster of houses makes up a town and a few picnic tables sprinkled over sheep-shorn grass gives us a free campsite. Perfect.

I lay my sarong out equidistant between the car and the sea. The ocean. Sometimes, after even a few minutes absence from it, my heart will leap at seeing it again. As if anytime away from watching waves tug with desire at the shore has been wasted. The deep calm I feel looking out at the solid line of sea meeting sky is surreal.

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I begin in mountain pose. Setting my feet firmly on the ground, I rotate my pelvis forward, correcting an unconscious habit, and stand. I love this pose. It’s probably me favourite asana, though I’m a little reluctant to smother those kinds of superlatives upon a practice. I think about times I’ve stood in this pose. Memories of my teacher training come to me. Oh it would be so nice to be in Nelson BC when I return to Canada. I’ll spend a few months at the Ashram and then find a place nearby to live. My parents will be living there by that point. My father’s big surprise retirement party is coming up. You know, I bet I could change all my plans and get a plane ticket to be there in time for it. It’s the first event that I’m reluctant to be missing in all the time I spend away from those I love. Christmas? Those come every year. But a retirement party? Once in a lifetime. I feel the pull of regret.

I’m moving through sun salutations by the time these thoughts bubble out of me. I catch them and breathe. I move my body through space and time.

Okay, I’m here. In New Zealand. I loved Napier, it had such a great energy and friendly people at the organic grocery store. Maybe I’ll settle there for my year. So many choices, so much to explore.

I look up toward the sky, my body in triangle and my mind elsewhere. I breathe.

Yesterday Kate and I drove to where two fishermen were hauling in their catch. We stood on the black-pebbled surf until the wind made it through our layers and our cold bones suggested we get back into the car. As we walked back, the hum of an approaching quad came closer. The man stopped, showing us his catch for the day: about a dozen fish, neatly stacked in the box on the back. “I’ve got work to do now,” he said. I smiled and waved as he rode on. The ocean offers something for everyone.

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The rumble of waves and moving rocks continues on. I ride their sounds into savasana, relaxing my feet and toes. That email, I still need to respond to that email, the one from the centre I’ll be going in a couple of days. Relax calves, calves relax. And suddenly I am here, in my body and yet not, my mind steadily arriving.

I breathe.

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