chilling feet

chilling feet

Friday, October 18, 2013

Don't Let The Shutdown Get You Down, Unless That Is Down Under!

 Life in New Zealand has been great the past two weeks, albeit a little windy and rainy off and on (and some times the wind is WINDY).  We just moved into our new dwelling place (photos to follow once we have some great ones - waiting for the perfect weather b/c this little house we are living in is super beautiful) and as we knew that we would not be quite as close to our estuary as our first house offered, we took a few last walks/runs/bike rides out to visit.

To help me get in my runs we will often go out with Sarah on the bike as I run.  As these first two photos display, she can never resist the opportunity to stop and take photos of whatever wild life we come across.  Often she will take so many photos that as I go to make a turn off the path, meaning that
I need to make sure she can see me so as to know which route I took, she is no where in site when I turn to look for her.  Turning around I will then head back in search of my wife who is usually crouched down on the side of the path taking photo after photo of little ducklings, black swans, or whatever other creatures she finds that will stay nearby long enough for photos (again, more to follow once I get them transferred onto the correct device).  You can look at the first two photos and see how she crept up on these little guys as we crossed the bridge, I am not even sure exactly what they are called.  Finally, as Sarah stopped on the far side of the bridge they decided perhaps they had waited long enough and they sprang to safety in the water, away from the terrifying Sarah with her camera - she can seem imposing at times - joke - but I'm not sure quite what it is that is scaring these guys).
It is most likely vanity of some weird kind but I simply cannot resist adding some of these breathtaking photos Sarah has taken of me running down here (the views, not me - I'd love these photos with anyone running in them).  The way they have created this path directly between two bodies of water really generates a special feel as one makes their way across it, no matter what mode of transport is used.  There is a sense of being transported to a time and place where people focus on entirely different aspects of life.  This path has been crafted out with an artistic passion that enables a person to enjoy more than whatever it is that drew them out to the journey in the first place.  As a runner I find myself smiling uncontrollably due to the beauty of the nature and animals around me.  A number of times Sarah and I have had to pause and simply be still at some point along the path.  It has always been a goal of mine to merge my daily running and my relationship with God.  While it is naturally fairly easy to find yourself praying while pushing the body through physical stress, it can at the same time feel quite arbitrary and petty.  Running down these paths, however, I find the coupling of these two aspects of my life seamlessly happening before I am consciously aware of it.  As opposed to prayers of supplication and intercession which I am usually more prone to pray on a run, there is a vast outpouring of thanksgiving and adoration which naturally are drawn outward - almost as if nature is offering a quick and steady connection to the Creator.  A flood of emotion, nostalgic events and memories, Scripture, and joy break free in a mingled offering as a response of broken thanksgiving, running in the hope of living a redeemed life.

Perhaps on the tail of such thoughts it is not quite as weird to show this photo Sarah snapped of me coming off of the walkway - in fact, maybe this photo says what I was trying to put into words.

While on the topic of running, we are now three 5k's into the seven 5k series and it has been quite a fun way to get out and among the people. Sarah even recruited one of the folks she works with to come out and run the series as well!  No matter where you are living it's a good idea to find some cheap local run/walks and just jump in them.  It's such a fantastic way to be out in the community and it of course also great for your health!

One of the goals that Sarah and I have made for ourselves is to complete as many of the local/regional walks as we can while we are here.  We have a guide map book that has them listed which makes it quite easy to move through them and check off each walk as we go.  Surely we will revisit some from time to time (especially when some of you come to visit), but at the same time there are so many that it does seem almost crazy to do the same ones too often except for convenience or time.  The photos that you will see below (and even one video - it's the first one I am attempting to upload and if it seems to work well we will actively try to take better videos to make this blog a little more interactive and fun - so forgive me if this one is not the best) are from the rest of a
hike that goes around the rest of the Bluff which was our first real hike in New Zealand (if you read the post you will recall the yellow sign pointing to a bunch of different destinations telling how far away each was, with Sarah pointing to Antarctica). This portion of the hike was labeled to be a ninety minute jaunt and traverses over private land. We did not do it last time because we were fairly certain from the map that it did not loop back to our original parking spot, which we discovered is true.  This time round we parked on the opposite side and worked our way out and into this amazingly picturesque land.  The trail was not nearly as well marked, or in any way kept up, like the other treks we have been on so far (which I
(I am probably not supposed to add this photo b/c Sarah does not look
just perfect but she always looks great to me!  Plus we hiking y'all.)
guess is the main difference when the trail heads across private land).  Sarah mentioned there was a strong "Scotland" feel about this land which moves one right along a treacherously rocky coastline with views that stopped us multiple times in our tracks so we could simply enjoy.  It was a little wet and cold but many of the shots still came out looking almost as good as they did to the naked eye.

Please scroll down and enjoy the photos!  Hopefully next time we will have some great shots of the new digs.  
(You cannot see much of a trail but this is about twenty minutes in when we stopped to look
(Do you notice a theme?  Doesn't matter how much drift wood or rocks or how cold, Sarah loves beaches!!)
(We have not spent much time around rocky beaches and we love the loud and hard crashing of the sea - so cool. I was also pretty proud of some of my rocky jumping and quick movement to get to this position - easily impressed)
(Not sure why there are not any houses out here?  Goodness.  I am sure it gets quite quite windy but I think we could manage with the views you're getting)
(Where does the trail go?  Sarah mentioned a few times she was going to go down and scale around the rocks instead of following the trail up some hill.  It was a truly fun trail to walk.  My boots were a better pick than Sarah's running shoes though, unfortunately for her wet toes)
(We ended up just walking the rest of the original hike we had done before - so we have been to this spot - whale watching point - before.  We had to sit and see if any whales swam by.  None did, at least none that came up for air)
(We then had to walk pretty far down the road after coming back through town - a celebratory pic of Sarah at the Bluff city limit sign.  This is as far South as the highway goes - so I guess you could say "begins" or "ends."  A cute little end to the country and almost world)

(An attempt at getting the first video fixed up - see what happens)