stacks for days

Days are stacking on top of each other. Sometimes I can see them from the side. Appreciate the accumulation. Other times, I only see from top-down and they all are a single day.

Today is Sunday. We went to church. We leave the house at 7:30 (a luxury since we now have a car!) to catch the 8 am ferry to Auckland City since the earliest sailing to the closer wharf isn’t until 10. Then, it takes 2 Ubers because we don’t fit in one to get to the chapel in Takapuna. The ward is friendly. Living on the North Shore would make the kayak team a reality for Paili. On Tuesday we will look at two houses in the area we could possibly rent.

I spend too much time pouring over listings. Wondering where we should live. Where will we want to be? Should we mimic home (Bellingham) or seek something as different as possible? Comfort, or function?

We could live anywhere. I know. Still, I want to pick a good plot – the right plot. One where we will meet people who will become friends for life.

I also know I want to document this experience. Somehow show the significance of it. The usual mechanisms sound hollow / underwhelming. I want things to be more special than regular life, and this isn’t a positive attribute. Its me seeking validation that I am special. That I matter. I should be content with the most ordinary aspect of my present because it is all a gift. How can I honor that? What of all this ordinariness is worthy of display? In other words, should I invest in the time it will take to present?

I don’t understand why connecting with others – being seen and seeing souls matters so much to me. Maybe it gets in the way, this desire. I feel the edges of it more now because we are still arms-length from so many of the people we now interact with. Or maybe even more than arms-length. Car-length / house-length / polite-distance-from-strangers-length.

The girls just broke a glass while filming video chats with their pals.

Shattering glass is an interrupting, alarming sound in one way. In another, it is lovely and hypnotic. Ice shards colliding in a thawing lake. Happens at Padden, around February or March.

Dot and Pebbles were napping together on the bed. I am writing in a chair in the same room. Dot woke up, slid off the bed, then walked away. Wandered all over the house. Now she’s asleep in my lap.

time thoughts

Back in Bellingham it is Wednesday. Actually, now it early Thursday morning because it is late now – almost Friday. Nineteen hours between. Time is a big marker of this experience – as much for its lack of presence as its omnipresence. Our rhythm is much simpler now – far less dependent on exactly what time it is, but still so much about things past and things to come.

I’m reading another Adam Miller book, mostly about time. Only a few chapters in and so much truth already opened up to me. Trouble is – how do I live by those truths? How do I live in the present, really? I’ve been buffeted by the past and spurned* toward the future for as long as thoughts extend in that direction. I’m trying to savor the now, more. To just appreciate what is happening right now. Only, that won’t be enough. There are these spaces between when it is too quiet – not enough activating to push out the creep of what was and what may be. What is desirable, what I fear. If I can’t dig into that forward or backward ebb and there is nothing else to fill it up, I run. Running is one of the only things that erases what was and what will be to hyper focus on what is. At least for the first bit until I’m spent.

This greasy build up of so many pasts and overlayed futures only seems to reveal itself the more I scrub at it. I don’t know how to solve it yet.

Dottie, for example. I am drawn to comfort, nurture, soothe her, of course. So often it seems no amount I offer is enough. Do I give her more? Less? Everyday is a new experiment with inconclusive results.

Many beautiful moments here, though. The natural world. The movement of water over sand and all the patterns left behind tracing those forces. The shells, intricate, broken, innumerable. Songs of birds. The girls playing with each other in the house and outside. Snuggling with Dottie.

This time thing is worth figuring out.

*Okay, so maybe not an accurate use of this word here, but I’m going with the archaic definition: “strike, tread or push away with the foot” according to Google’s dictionary.

the beginning

So far New Zealand is everything we hoped for and more. Also, just embarking from our known to so many unknowns.

We are in a totally new place around strangers. Inside, though, we are still who we’ve always been. I will stop speaking in the plural now because I can’t combine my experience of this aspect with anyone else’s. I wonder what parts of me I will shed and emerge new, and what parts I will retain? What could I spur to newness along with all of this disruption? What is worth maintaining? Who will I be, now? Who will I be when we return?

I want to be good, to do good. To love, lift, help others. Plant and nurture things, sing, sweat, build. And yet. So many un-things push between these desires and static, stuck, sluggish drifting.

What do I do with those things?

Will time and miles apart fix what I cannot?

Is leaving well enough alone the ultimate remedy? I think I’m prepared for that more than the alternative: something that requires messy digging in and ripping up, dust-filled skies and smoky burning in order to clear and clean. That I’m not ready for. I’ll put it off like I did packing for this trip.

If it hadn’t been for a thicket of loved-ones pitching in and tying up loose ends, we wouldn’t be here. Sorry to all of you. I could have, should have, done better.

To recap, we were packing, cleaning, organizing all night before our morning flight. Did not lay down my head, which I wouldn’t have been able to do well anyway because our bed was sold and gone. Felt some relief when traffic cooperated and the two-hour drive to the airport went smoothly, then my insides went all tight when the airline clerk informed us we couldn’t check-in for our flight because we only had a one-way ticket. She insisted we couldn’t proceed without purchasing return airfare. We stood in line for a. long. time. Meanwhile, she brought in her supervisor. We waited. Tried to read her face and overhear her phone conversation to know the outcome. She asked for documents. I fumbled finding them. More waiting. Dot miraculously sat on the ground and let Pebbles soothe her. A man next to us grew belligerent when the airline told him his bag was too heavy to carry-on. And then… she asked for luggage. More waiting, but then I was holding 6 boarding passes. It was happening. The supervisor told us Paili could take her kayak paddle as a checked item, but security said otherwise. We returned to the check-in desk only to find a many-person deep line. Without flinching, Pablo bypassed the line and went straight for the same supervisor who helped us, who accepted the paddle without sending us back to the line.

Bin after bin marched through the security scanners and then we did, too. More waiting on the other side. Only two of our bags were *not*  searched by hand. Turns out the TSA won’t let you bring a good size Gerber knife in a checked bag. Tip: check every pocket if you fly with the same pack you recently went to the backcountry with. Also, full bottles of water and juice boxes won’t likely make it through (obvi).

We arrived at the gate with less than 10 minutes to board. Six hours to Honolulu, then two hours in the airport before the 15 hour leg. All went smoothly. It wasn’t great. I could have skipped the 15 hours of sitting. It wasn’t the nightmare I imagined it could be

I worried arrival would hold its own set of obstacles, but beyond finding our way around the airport and waiting for customs and immigration – no hitches. Our shuttle was waiting outside. We arrived at our AirBnB a bit before 11 pm. We put on jammies, tucked into bed, and slept. Even after all that. When we awoke, the sun was coming up, and we were on the other side of the world.