I am laying in a bed letting the body recover until all hours of the morning, make that the afternoon. Susie is the daughter of friends of my mother-in-law. You can’t imagine how nice it feels to hear her say, “Make yourself at home!”
And I am doing just that with her lovely family.
I feel overwhelmed by all there still is to walk, but I’ve gotten this far, so I’ll likely figure things out. At least that’s what I keep telling myself, unwilling to unmoor my body from these cuddly covers and begin crossing things off my list like wash clothes, repack and send the bounce box, shop for food, buy a hut pass and see about a hitch through the upcoming closed section.
I know, I know. Yesterday, I said I am not a ‘skipper’ – apparently there’s a lot of drama surrounding those who walk and those who grumble/hitch – but I need to draw the line somewhere and there’s a 36 kilometer detour around a closed forest that takes the hiker on roads through suburbs.
The TA Association is doing its best and the trail is more ‘route’ than ‘trail,’ but I think even my purist self realizes my time might be better served moving through the suburbs on wheels.
I’m thinking about recovery as I recover, about hearing what your body tells you. I was wrecked this morning – not with any specific pain or injury, just overall exhaustion. I feel good walking and pushing a little for that last bit catching the sunset at Waitemata harbor and the glow on the Pacific followed by a chilled, wind-in-the-hair ferry ride.
But, as you’ve been reading, this walk is almost a form of chelating as all manner of toxins are being scoured from my insides. Yes, the physical effort is taxing, but the emotional response has me feeling turned inside out.
The startling result is the support coming from everywhere – my family, my friends, readers who I’ve never met and hikers on the trail. No one has told me to stop dwelling or get over it. Rather there’s a celebration of revealing my soul as I work through whatever it is I need to uncover and manage.
Nearly a week ago I met a Kiwi who told me my subconscious has demanded this long walk. Perhaps pushing my body, pushing the bounds of my outer world and shifting my perspective – not-to-mention putting my career at risk with this long leave-taking – is the only way to get at this inner work as well as all these big feelings that are old yet sadly, familiar.
But enough of all that, time for laundry and fresh air on the deck, my clothes blowing in the wind. I pick through my bounce box, trade a few clothing items, check the tent for damage, and thank the goddess there is none.
Then it’s time to take a tour. Sarah drives us to the waterfront of the City of Sails, everyone is out in the chilly, rarified, rain-cleansed air – bikes, scooters, walkers, sunset watchers.
The light is golden on the hills and at Auckland’s lovely city park on a hill, the Domain, where I climb up on the long graceful roots of the iconic Moreton Bay fig. New Zealand’s Christmas tree, the pohutukawa is getting an early start this year, petals falling like bright red snow.
We head downtown for the ultimate tourist destination, the sky tower. Signs explain it sits a few feet higher than the Eiffel Tower but not quite as high as the Empire State Building. I feel little claustrophobic, so Susie keeps chatting to distract me on the ride up 60 stories, actually only a few hundred stairs more than Peach Cove I note even as I try to manage my stomach lurching.
The view is lovely of lights, buildings, the neoclassic War Memorial museum in purple. We make haka faces for our selfies then head home to bake five pumpkin pies for tomorrow’s feast.
I am deeply grateful for new friends, deeply grateful I’m well and happy, deeply grateful I took this chance right now.
Sweet dreams and happy thanksgiving.