Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holiday Season

"Beware lest you lose the substance
by grasping at the shadow"


This is the view out of my window towards the playground and Kauakarau Bay. Beyond that is Omiha Bay, where the Rocky Bay Memorial Cruising Club held their annual Regatta Saturday(amongst quite typical blustery summer weather conditions), Beyond that is the expansive and tidal Rocky Bay, encompassing the wider Whakanewa Regional Park.

It is a quiet and windy little settlement, with only a scattering of houses dotting the hillsides and bays. Most are empty for months of the year. But not now.

It is that wonderful and most ephemeral Time of Universal Holiday in New Zealand, where a large part of the population stops working completely and heads out to rural and beach locations to unwind for Christmas and New Years celebrations with family and friends, putting end to another calendar year of whatever it is they have been doing.

If there was any doubt the landed gentry were out in full force here in one of the trendier spots to holiday in New Zealand, Waiheke Island is awash with Big Black SUV's and other fashion accessories not seldom seem on the island, this being New Years Eve, 2006. And to make the statement complete, the tranquil park scene above, normally with just few youngsters, some dog walkers, and a friendly duck family, had the uncharacteristic commotion of a helicopter land this afternoon, in order to party a bit and inspect one of the waterfront properties. Ahem.

The tide was out on my New Years Eve walk, and in between some harmless showers, it took me through the native bush descent into the park onto its long stretch of sand and shells, nesting dotterels, and oystercatchers:

Only the recent hoof prints of some horses were to be seen, and the constant badgering of the protective dotterels were my company on this magnificent beach. I though about all the things I am grateful for - the opportunities, experiences, and people that have graced my life this past year. All the little dramas and stories that make up our individual neuroses try to force their way into my thinking at times, but both the beauty and significance of the moment were far too powerful. Rhythm and oxygen clear the head in no uncertain terms. Over an hour walking, and what many people around the world need to undertake just to survive once, twice, maybe more each day, I took as leisure. Our perspective can be as valuable as the ground under our feet.

No helicopters. No real estate mingling chit chat. No wineries and their trendy products. Just the elements in raw and unhindered natural change. A nice afternoon reflection for the last day of the year:

A few days ago, on another little summer outing to catch up with my daughter and partner, along with friends and family, I visited Gisborne for the first time in over a decade. The flat, fertile plains, now largely taken up with vineyards, still have wonderful fresh fruit stands dotting the road in from the Bay of Plenty side. We tasted the local produce with gusto, cooking up some great meals in a nicely appointed holiday home overlooking Poverty Bay and the great surf beaches of the Gisborne and Eastland Area:

Christmas revelers in amongst the
vines and lush plains around Gisborne, prior to setting off to play gigs in the Rhythm n' Vines Festival.

Not too bad, really.

Much better time than this guy, anyway:

Which may have reminded me of some Christmas past, but we don't need to go there! It has been a pleasant Holiday Season for me, a balanced mix of social activities and parties coupled with restful and contemplative personal time. There has been some fun reading and regular writing. May we all be so fortunate as to know when enough is enough.

Then perhaps we will all have enough.


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