In the slanted light of morning I sat outside this campground’s kitchen, slowly sipping my morning chai, just as I had done yesterday. Only today, the crisp bite of autumn didn’t hang in the air as long and the vibrant blue of this barren landscape’s sky was smeared with patches of warm-trapping cloud.
I’m in Wanaka.
Well, I’m very near to Wanaka and will likely hitch the ten kilometres there later this afternoon as I did yesterday. When I get there I’ll probably again be surprised at just how “flash” the town is. Tourist dollars pour into the village. Young trees have been planted at regular intervals, guided in their quest for the sky by the same monotonous metal casings. Each tree is lit from below by a light in the sidewalk shining upon the underside of their chlorophyll-depleted leaves. Beautiful. And flash.
Maybe today the most striking part of the town will be the newness of storefronts or the precision with which they have been constructed. Each waterfront café tries to outdo the next with elaborate rock walls and signage. There’s something about this place that makes me feel uncomfortable.
It could be the landscape and its eerily similar qualities to Southern Alberta. There are treeless mountains everywhere, like coulees on steroids. The bleakness is startling and I find respite on the quartz-rock shore of the lake—along with every other 20-something wondering what the hell they’re doing with their
Yet there is a peace here for me. It’s in this massive sky; hanging up above me so close I can touch it. I’m held in this mountain-edged bowl. I know this part of the country was calling me to come here. So why do I feel so uncomfortable?
Mentally, I’m still transitioning out of work. My last day was over ten days ago, but going on that tramp filled my days with eight hours of walking and a glazy sort of monotony that replaced the continuity working five days a week provided. Now I’m not wandering in the bush. Now I don’t have a set schedule or structured routine. I have mental space and it’s making me squirm.
As the mighty van Lola galloped over the Canturbury plains into Otago, the region where Wanaka is, we listened to an audio book on Mantra. While the delivery of the subject didn’t appeal to me, there’s just something about the name of the Divine my cells simply respond to. I let my consciousness expand and tumble through the open fields, playing with Krishna. I’d bump into a mountainside, narrowly escaping a handful of butter He threw my way and then crash into one of the lakes, washing His chocolate off my face. Lola hurdled on.
I meant for this time to be my reward for a summer of hard work. I want to leisurely take in the Southern Alps and the space of this country. In typical Guenevere fashion, I worry about money and wonder if playing guitar and roasting a pumpkin qualify as worthy enough pursuits for one day.
I’m getting used to the lack of schedule. I’m getting used to the cold nights. I’m taking this as a wonderful opportunity to sit with any discomfort “being in transition” is bringing me and I’m waiting to see what Krishna will throw my way next.