I can be a worrier. My natural inclination is to internalise stress until it either tears me down or explodes out of me. One thing that helps me manage this is getting outside, being alone, and renewing my perspective on life. I am very fortunate to have a beautiful place to do this only five minutes walk from my front gate.
This is the view heading south on my local beach. I live on the south west coast of the North Island of Aotearoa/New Zealand. The small island in this shot is Kapiti Island. I know it will be safe to leave my washing on the line today as there are no clouds lingering over the top of the island. To the right of Kapiti Island you can make out the outline of the South Island (we’re very imaginative at naming things down here! The Maori names are a bit more interesting: North Island is Te Ika a Maui – the fish of Maui, South Island is Te Wai Pounamu – the waters of greenstone). On a clear day you can make out the colours on the cliffs and hills of Te Wai Pounamu. Other days, you can’t even see Kapiti Island.
The beach is scattered with pumice formed in the eruption that reshaped Lake Taupo around 1,800 years ago. This was the biggest volcanic eruption anywhere in the last 5,000 years and was recorded by the Chinese and the Romans. Seeing the evidence of such a violent event still lying on the surface of the earth today reminds me of the insignificance of our own lives and cares.
More recent events have also left their mark. There is driftwood aplenty after the winter storms of the past two weeks. Sometimes those logs turn out to be seals carried further north looking to shelter from the weather. Today I could walk in bright sunshine in a t-shirt and light trousers. Last week there was snow down to 300 metres. As they say on many islands around the world, if you don’t like the weather just wait a minute!
The boundless enthusiasm of my dog never fails to recharge my spirit. I never listen to music when I walk on the beach. The sound of the ocean is my music, and it’s also good to know when one of the sneaky bigger waves is coming!
No man-made structure could ever compare to the world around us. No words can recreate the feeling you can get by allowing yourself to feel what a small part you are of a greater of whole. It may sound strange, but I find great comfort in knowing that this world has gone, and will go on, regardless of me.