Recklessness and Water


The morning arrives so softly that most people never see it coming. It steals in, low lighted, unsaturated tones of grey on grey. The heron flies low across the mudflats, taking his time, mapping his territory. I’m here on the seat by the estuary. Silently watching, a voyeur of the emerging day. She is so beautiful.  I feel like an interloper on a secret thing. A privileged visitor. I wonder why all the human race seems unaware of this morning magic. Why they sleep until the later light bleeds through their eyelids, stumbling into a day already partly gone.

All of nature seems to join the morning chorus; I hear the buzz of bees and the low of the cattle up on the hills, cicadas, the pop and fizz of the mudflat creatures, mangrove dwellers and tiny sparrow calls. A fish flops across the mirrored surface of water, further out where tide has failed to drain the deep.  And in the distance, the sleeping layers of greys, stretching out into the peninsula. The sky is bleached this morning; when I first came out here, the moon shone thinly through the misted clouds. We’ve had a full moon. It is imperceptible now, milk white in the white lit sky.


Last night, we came down here for a night swim, watching with the wonder of children as our hands passed through the phosphorescent water. Like tiny galaxies swirling under our fingertips, whirling away into universes too minute for our comprehension. Starbursts of white and blue glowing and fading in the black water. Millions of tiny microorganisms stirred into a momentary spiral bloom of aqua fire.  It felt special, these bodies of ours, warm against each other in the glassy dark, stars above, stars below.  Salty splashes across our contours of skin. I will remember it. Like the feeling of bare feet in the sand at night. The quiet wonder of raw freedom under the wide sky.

Recklessness and water.

Mary, my mother-in-law, passed away this week, and tomorrow we will have her funeral. I think about how she loved to walk down by this estuary, about how she and my girl would pick flowers along the walk to Lover’s Rock, nattering away about this and that. Eventually her husband and loved ones will find a new rhythm of days without her here.  We will become accustomed to coming here and not seeing her. But we will always feel her presence. Down by this water, along the edge of Mangrove flats, out across Mercury Bay and in the wonder of all this beauty.


Once, many years ago, my younger self crept out the back window of the old house with my guy. We ran down to the water’s edge in our pyjamas and I jumped on the old rope swing in the Macaracapa Tree. It swung out over the early tide and we laughed when I got stuck out over the water. Mary watched us from her bedroom window, and laughed to me later that she’d seen us sneaking out, early in the morning. Into the new day.

I wonder if she sees me here, writing by the curve of water behind her house. I wonder if she feels the peace that I feel, the quiet beginning of something new.


Vale Mary.  If heaven exists I am quite sure it contains all the beauty of this place you loved so much, and all the love of your family, especially those gone before, waiting there to hold you in their arms again.

And Mary,  if you see my Mumma, tell her I miss her. I’m sure she’ll make you a cuppa. Look into her eyes and know that she’s been away from me all these years, and yet the love carries on. It will be like that for you and your boys. The love remains.


The melody from the song Nightswimming spirals through my thoughts.  The lines startle me with how closely they echo my feelings.  I smile to think that there are indeed now, two. My two mothers, side by side in orbit around the fairest sun.


The Keeper

When he decides it is time to do something, he gets stuck in. And then he keeps on keeping on until it is done.

My hubster is one of those men who works in an office. His days are spent going from meeting to meeting and in between, plowing through the outstanding tasks at his desk. He’s employed a great team to work with, so at least there is a good measure of hilarity in their office banter. But it is a sedentary kind of occupation. Hard for a busy kind of guy.

Before he got saddled with kids and then, a sick wife (thank goodness I am not anymore!) he was all action stations. When we met, he spent most weekends out sailing, at the gym and in his workshop, building stuff.  Fixing things, tootu-ing (that’s kiwi for messing-about-with-intention).

So when my guy is on holidays, the way he winds down is to get busy. Productive. It’s weird, it is like the opposite to the rest of the world, who holiday on sun loungers, sipping cool drinks in the shade. My fella likes to get physical, out in the water or on a DIY project.  If he doesn’t complete something significant during his holidays, he feels like he’s wasted them (I know, right?!).

So, he decided it was time we updated our living room. We inherited a rather loud ‘feature’ wall of tangerine juxtaposed with maroon. I’ve always hated it! Of course, I had decided it was time we updated our living room a week before we moved into the house, eight years ago. But as with most of the practical tasks in this house, nothing happens until the hubster decides.


And he did! It seemed like we got interrupted in the task constantly, but finally, last night, we finished. The final coat of paint went on the mantel and we were finished!  I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me. I keep standing in the doorway, just gazing at our lovely room.


That man of mine installed new coving, skirtings and architraves. Built floating shelves, plastered and painted the ceilings and then all the rest, too. He had some help from me, but I was definitely his sidekick. I marvel at his skills. It’s rare, these days, for guys to know how to do all these things. I feel stupendously lucky! He used muscles he rarely uses anymore, and engaged a part of his brain that brings him satisfaction and respite. Sometimes, he groaned when he stretched his office body out at the end of the day. But most of the time, he grinned. He’s got a great grin, my hubster, among other things.

As one of my friends said “he’s a keeper”!

Here are some more pictures.
Reckon I might keep him on. 😉