At last we are walking more as a family. It's been a slow unfolding but this is the year that we wanted to be a whole lot more intentional about getting into the outdoors more often and for longer.
"Intention"- it's my word this year.
I have the outdoors in me. I spent most of my days in my formative years on the water paddling or in the hills walking with a fair bit of climbing thrown in.
I then worked at various jobs in the outdoors for a while: teaching kayak skills, raft guiding, guided hiking and running school camps. I loved all of it but I had the university itch so traded that for a head full of ideas and a large student loan (:-)
Don't get me wrong, I loved university - the learning, the debating and the ideas - it's just now at 42, still paying off my student loan and with a broader appreciation of learning, I'm not sure I'd make the same decision given the choice again.
Being in the outdoors was my complete passion and although I left a large part of it behind when I went to uni, it has nevertheless remained for me a deep pool of sustenance and part of my identity.
Of course I have always shared this love for being in nature, out of doors with the girls but it's only now that they are 6 and 8, that it feels like good timing for us to step it up to more multi-day trips.
We have done a few over the years but now we want more.

Easter Sunday seemed like a good day to get outside and head up Te Ahu Patiki (Mt. Herbert): a decent day's walk and excellent views in, quite literally, our backyard. As for the landscape, the Banks Peninsula is like a cemetery for me: large stumps from ancient totora forests cover the now grassed land.
I can't help but feel the loss.

Learning to be together as a family and tackling challenging tasks can be exactly that - challenging.
For the first 2 hours of walking, there was a large amount of stopping and starting: we call it our settling in period. Expect way too many drinks of water, clothes adjustments, toilet stops, general complaints.
Then there's the mama complaining about those who are complaining -she's certainly not helping things :-)
Gunter gently points out in the midst of one of these episodes that we just need to do more day-long/multi-day walks so we get better at rolling with the settling in period. He's right.
On top of all that, there was my own internal struggle with the goal. I wanted to reach the top, I thought it would feel good, but of course, I also wanted the girls to enjoy getting there, noticing dew on grass, skinks sunbathing on the rocks and not feeling rushed on.
Just being where they were, available to the present moment.

As I finally surrendered into being ok with how things were and not reaching anywhere in particular, we all found ourselves quiet and content. Ahh.
We had finally settled into the day and then happily walked the rest of the way to the top.
The girls loved it. We all had a great day.
Isn't that often how it goes.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing landscape even without the trees. Did you manage the top or does that challenge still wait for another day? We have a similar challenge in enjoying our slow meanders with Hazel... but it is worth it...we see the world in a different light and she is building up her leg muscles (she's an amazing walker when the mood takes her.. she ran half way down the Kapiti Island track last weekend!). Perhaps we can go walking together again next time you are up this way.