What brings me here, to the seashore on the edge of the small New Zealand town where I was born?
For that matter, what brings me to my hometown at all, in the opening years of my 60s? It’s not liked I planned this move, I didn’t. The shifting sands of my life just seemed to place me here. And, now that I am here, my life seems to have beached itself, like the whales that have been stranding themselves around the New Zealand coastline this summer.
That’s not to say I am not happy about finding myself here. It’s meant I’ve been able to support my 90 year old mother as she navigates her move from family home to rest home life. So it’s been a wonderful blessing, if an unplanned one. There’s another level to all this though. I can’t help feeling, as I stand here on the sky coloured shoreline, that I’m standing at the shoreline of the rest of my life as well. I sense I have lessons to learn here that have nothing to do with caring for my beautiful mother. And that there will be no moving on until I do.
One thing’s for sure ~ I don’t ever just go to the sea to go to the sea.
Each time I come here to walk, or just sit, I bring something with me that needs airing out ~ some pain or despair or loss. Or guilt. I come here to listen for the lessons thrown up by the fierce storms that blow in from Australia ~ and for the insights that soar on the wind. I come here to crunch through the seashells that pile like bleached memories on the shore ~ and to lift my eyes to the horizon, squinting to see what life might look like when things start moving again. And yes, I come because I want to align with the wildly colourful sunsets, in the hope that some of that colour will rub off on me .. and the rest of my life.
The answer is simple really. For all the myriad reasons why I am back here in my hometown, when I jump in my little blue car and drive five minutes to the sea there is only one thing on my mind.
I come to the sea to find ME.