Sunday, September 25, 2016

A walk is just a matter of 'distance' on the Coast! NO.

You have often read of my wonderful walks on the Coast. They have been my 'saviour, my tonic---my source of joy!' If I feel a little bored or our of sports, I go for a walk. I return home---invigorated, restored and calm. How does one measure such experiences?

    We could measure how far we walked (you know who 'we,' represents!) I would be reporting in steps walked, (as measured by the AP on my phone) or by the distance in kilometres----or how long we walked. None of the aforementioned work for me, as they do not 'record' what happened on the walk.

   There is a far more accurate measure re our walks. Just take it as a given that we explore beautiful places with heavenly vistas, along with the sounds, of birds and gently lapping waves---those experiences just happen! How about we use the 'encounters' we enjoy along the way----yes the people we meet. To put a finer point on this----let me use the 'conversations I have with the people I meet. There---we have it. By today's measure for our walk the result was five conversations; five meetings and exchanges of ideas and stories.

That is how we measure a walk on the Coast!!!!

Walking on the Coast is--'talking' on the Coast.

I could hardly be accused of been a shy, 'keep it to yourself,' sort of guy. I can't help it---I just talk. (lots of grins and knowing nods as some of my friends and family read that opening!) Since moving to the Coast, that 'attribute' has been enhanced by the sheer beauty of the area and freeing up of the 'me' that the Coast has brought out.

   Every time I walk along the foreshore,  up a valley, or alongside the retirement village, I meet someone, I never get far without the need to stop and chat. I suspect that Perdy is the draw card, as most of the people, some with their own  'hairy companions,' stop to pat, chat and swap yarns. It is at least a twice daily ritual now.

   I learn a great deal about the area I have moved to and about other far flung places, not just in New Zealand, but the lands from which so many of the people have come from. I love their stories and as I get to know them, they go deeper, sharing aspects of their lives that I feel special, when I hear them.

   There have been times in my life, when I have exhibited a fair amount of impatience when  it comes to standing still and listening, but something about this place, makes me want to take the time to 'play the Coastal game,' and enjoy the pace; indeed it is my furry monster, Perdy who is literally chomping at the bit to get away, once the chat goes beyond ten minutes. Several times I have looked down and my nutty Jack Russell has chewed through her lead. Thank goodness, she has only bolted for the hills and streets of Thames, hunting cats and other vermin, a couple of times.

    One aspect of meeting people with their own dogs is that I forget the names of the humans but remember the dogs' names. On occasion, I swap names---I call the human the dog's name. Even that seems to be acceptable behaviour down here. Actually, I remember doing the same in Auckland so maybe it is a quaint failing of dog owners in general.

   I like the  pace of life here; the easy welcoming from locals, the smiles and willingness to share helpful knowledge about  where to get 'stuff or services,' the shortcuts that avoid issues and yes---'what not to do.' I was expecting a it of 'push back,' re coming from Auckland; yes I was prepared to say I was from the Naki,' in an attempt to avoid that bloody awful label JAFA! I have not needed to do that. They seem to have changed the label to JAR (Just another Refugee) I am not sure that this willingness to accept Aucklanders will last long term, because there is a huge shortage of houses to buy or rent donw here now. The HALO affect of Auckland stupid prices for houses, is going to cause issues as locals are locked out of the market, just like many Aucklanders are now.

   There are many other beautiful regions in New Zealand. I would like to think that people like me, who have tired of the 'rat race' of the bigger cities, will find a way to make the changes necessary to move to the gems that are scattered like the rocks I collect from the beach here---find them and make the move. Find your place to slow the pace and meet the people on the beaches, parks and wild spaces. You will wonder why you struggled for so long!