It’s been one and half years since I wrote anything in this space. 18 months. 530-odd days.
If this silence means anything at all, it would be mean one and half years of static and of feeling like there weren’t any tales worth telling here on Tiger Bomb Tales.
The mountains I last wrote about are still 100 kilometres north of me. In other words, despite all the intentions and plans, I haven’t moved. Perhaps this is the reason why I’ve felt both psychologically and physically stuck. But probably not. Location, as much as I have tended to blame or credit it for my (lack of) well-being, has had little to do with the last 18 months.
I’ve been back to the Tararua Ranges a few times since I last wrote about “being and doing” on the Atiwhakatu River. I’ve climbed the mountain’s peak. I camped in her secluded corners. Swam naked in her deep, cool Waiohine River, where I would later watch in both horror and delight as dozens of eels swarmed the shores at dusk searching for bloody flesh to eat. I drank whiskey from the bottle around a fire underneath a sky so full of stars it made me feel the possibility of heaven.
These weren’t complete idyllic experiences, as the word “nature” in New Zealand tends to evoke. The last 500 metres of the climb up Mount Holdsworth were bitterly cold. The wind blew with such ferocity I genuinely feared I’d fly off the face of it and plummet to my death. The hike in to the Totara Flats was so unkempt and wild that I could only keep my eyes pasted on the trail below me, and yet still tripped and twisted my ankles on knotted trees roots. And once we finally arrived at the grassy meadow where we’d pitch a tent and sleep for the next two nights, the sand flies feasted on my ankles and the sun’s rays burned my body so badly that my skin flaked away for the next month like a serpent shedding its layers.
But I have learned that pain can kickstart beginnings.
What can loosing oneself in untamed forests and mountainsides be but a metaphor for life?
It’s been four years since I moved to this island with and for the love of a man with a funny accent and rough, guitar-string scarred fingertips. I came here as an open-hearted dreamer, a romantic, a quiet wanderlust interested in coming, seeing and going again. What I got was real life that sometimes has little patience for girls like these. As I approach the last year of my twenties (shit!), I want to and will be parts of her again – only now I am a woman and I know better than to make or ignore decisions without discernment.
So I write now if only to speak my truth and push past the thought that my experiences here do not matter. Perhaps they mean nothing to others. But they cannot mean nothing to myself. I know not what the future brings – a verifiable truth I have always took issue with. It’s time I learn that a tomorrow of unknowns should not cripple me today.
Yesterday evening, I looked out from the top of the Tawatawa Reserve and watched the sunset over the South Coast of Wellington.
It’s now the start of March in 2015 – the beginning of Autumn in Aotearoa, New Zealand. It’s a season that typically asks me to slow down and unwind. But as I faced the ocean and the pink Southern sky, my North American bones felt only springtime and all the fresh growth and new life that come with it.