Sunday, December 8, 2013

Letting go and taking a rest...

The nesting Gannets on Muriwai Beach

In a knot hole

Dave and Jo, to whom I owe much gratitude.

Fast forward through the next series of days, because on a journey like this city life is dull, and any time spent in them is met with the same resistance as an approaching visit to the dentist. I decided to go to Auckland and give my foot a day of rest. It has been giving me issues since we made it out of the forests and into Kerikeri, about 2 weeks ago, and it was doing the opposite of improving. Just walking along a sidewalk without a pack was unbearable, my limp turning into a permanent walking feature which was great practice for me to perfect my gangsta strut. Cross that off my list of life accomplishments :) For the past week I had been hiking around with a lamb skull attached to my bag. Rita had found it in a field and kicked it toward my attention. I find it fascinating how quickly people pick up on my love for bones and decay. Try walking around a bustling metropolis as a woman in your 30's, carrying a house on your back, covered in tattoos, smelling like a stale collection of weeks of sweat, with a heart shaped patch stitched to your bag, while carrying a lamb skull in your hand. You get some stares, and yes, I did notice people steering their children away from me. Fair enough. But the art must go on! This day's project was to photograph that skull all over the city only to be cut short when I dropped and broke it while making photos in a park. What to do? The answer so obvious. Hide the remaining pieces in nearby trees with the hopes that when seen by on-lookers a small history of how the skull came to reside in the park would be written and played out inside their heads. In that knot-hole, in that tree, in the middle of Auckland :) Side note, I did travel back through several days later to find the lower jaw piece had vanished, but the main skull section was still in the same knot-hole, but had been turned upside down. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to photograph its progress. Remember the guy I had mentioned before whom I met at the helicopter pad with the trekking group at the top of the mountain? That chance meeting turned into a beautiful stream of unbelievably appreciated hospitality as he and his wife allowed me to stay with them for a couple days while I rested up in hopes of avoiding a doctors visit. Dave Fereday and his wife Joanne afforded me the most gracious hospitalities. A bed, in a room all to myself, as I listened to the rain pour down outside. A tub!!!! They fed me wonderful vegetables and fresh eggs from their chickens, chocolate, icecream, and on Thanksgiving Day (the real one this time), they were so incredibly kind, went above and beyond, and acquired a proper thanksgiving dinner from a roastery. How could I be so lucky? It gets better. Mere kilometers from their house on a beautiful black sanded beach at Muriwi resides one of four nesting points for Gannets. They collect here by the thousands during this time of year to mate, nest, and once the chicks are ready they take their first flight...all the way to Australia. They will stay in Australia and return to NZ once again, years later when they themselves are ready to mate. I rested, and it was helpful, but it wasn't improving fast enough for my impatience so I finally went to the doctor to receive official news of what was happening. I knew exactly what he was going to say, yet it still hit me like a ton of bricks. I had severe tendinitis and I needed to give my feet a true rest. "You have to stop walking...for at the very least a week, maybe two." After seeing my hesitation we had a talk about the project, why it was so hard to stop, the expenses involved with stopping, etc. He recommended I go to Waiheke Island and take some time, rest on a beach and only make art, thinking that if i were posted up on an island it would limit where I could walk and maybe actually get me to hold still for a while. I checked the weather and it looked like a great idea. I think I will refer to the weather patterns here as Cybal. Crazy and constantly changing its mood. I was rained on for 36 hours straight. Not a slight rain, a downpour. So I did the only thing I could do to keep the spirits high. I made a game and an art project out of it. "24 Hours in a Tent." Let the game begin! The rules: You can only leave the tent to use the bathroom and to make food. Songs sung, harmonica played, talking to myself and laughing at my own jokes, having a debate with myself and playing both sides. (I won by the way). At one point I started practicing my mouth harp and tried experimenting with muting the notes or singing while playing. While muting I closed my teeth a bit too much and struck them with the metal prong chipping the tiniest tiniest bit of my front tooth off...which is when I decided that I knew this country was going to leave me a changed person, I was however expecting to return home with all my body parts intact. So I tried to strike a deal. Dear New Zealand, I will not try harder to challenge you to try any harder to get me to leave, simple out of fear for the rest of my parts I still have whole. I will however, acknowledge your power, relinquish some pride, and ask politely, "You have proven yourself a worthy adversary, and I am humbled before you indeed, so would you mind putting the boxing gloves away and simply let me enjoy you and revel in your beauty as I came to do? Many thanks, Your tooth-chipped, toenailess, tendinitic, wandering fool, Saratops I hope that works. Most of the tent project is on film, so again you are going to have to wait for the results. But it was decided after 36 hours that it was time to move on. I don't enjoy, but I don't mind being rained on when I am on the trail. But to just be sitting in it for no reason is ridiculous and stupid and boring and I was done with it. I stayed in Auckland for one night, then took a bus south to Hamilton, where I currently reside. I have met 2 other people here in this hostel alone who have been laid up due to injuries on their feet. My Australian friend Jason came in last night with the same tendon issues I was having and says he needs a few rest days, which is impressive because that guy is a hiking machine! I don't know the full state of my next 3 friends coming through other than that they should be here in the next couple days, they had a terrible day through the bush the other night and didn't find a place to sleep until well after 9 and dark, and that they were "in pain." I take no joy in knowing other people are hurting but misery is company at least in the fact that I now feel like less of a whiny baby. This trail is difficult. Once everyone gathers and is rested and healed, we will again depart. And I am glad to not have to move on without a trekking partner.
The setting of 24 Hours in  Tent

The guts of the operation

A skeptical debate

I found a new FUNction on my camera that is suppose to beautify you

Good lord I am so pretty now!!!
The Journey. Low Tide.

The Journey.


Lil' ol' me.

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