Day 127 7 May – shadows

My daughter organized a beach clean up for one of our local beaches as part of her action project for EMR (Experiencing Marine Reserves). The program educates school children on the importance of marine reserves and the reason why conservation is so valuable for the well-being and prosperity of marine life. They attend snorkeling sessions and then have a final day trip out to Goat Island.

Afterwards the children are encouraged to partake in an action project and my daughter decided to plan a beach clean up as she feels that is a good way to spread awareness throughout the community. She single handedly chose the date, the beach, contacted Keep New Zealand Beautiful and organized recycling bags, rubbish bags and gloves. She circulated flyers within the school and we placed an advertisement on a local community notice board via social media. Although the turn out was smaller than anticipated, they still managed to collect 3 bags of rubbish within the hour.

Late afternoon after all the volunteers had left, my daughter and I went walking along the beachfront placing flyers in mailboxes (again as part of brining awareness to what she wanted to achieve for the day). While walking I couldn’t help notice our shadows against the golden rays of the sun. The sunset highlighted the beautiful greens from the wild grass and I was overwhelmed with a sense of the now. Living in the moment. Loving life.

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Shadow

Turn your youthful face towards the sun, my dear

And all the fearful shadows will fall behind you.

 

Day 105 15 April – beachy

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I would say one of the reasons I love living in Auckland would be the accessibility to some of the most beautiful beaches and bays. They are literally right at your doorstep.

Today was a thriller of a day at the shop. Probably one of our most busiest days yet. Around 4pm my body hit a slump and I went brain numb. I literally couldn’t think anymore. Helping customers felt like a daze, when they talk to you but you struggle to comprehend what they are saying or are asking for. I can’t remember when last I felt this tired.

So the thought of joining my family at a friends beach barbecue was not an exciting one. All I wanted to do was go home, eat and sleep. Arriving at the venue, Cockle Bay beach reserve, and my spirit lifted slightly. My son was playing rugby with the boys and my daughter was walking on the beach with a friend. The sun was setting, and even with a cool breeze outside it was pleasant to be outside. My head cleared and all I could think of was food!

After dinner my husband and I took a walk on the beach. The tide was out and if you wanted too you could wonder a hundred metres or so out. We stayed on the shore as I took photos. It was calming.

We didn’t stay for much longer afterwards but the hour I was there was enough to fill me with gratitude and peace.

Nature sure has a miraculous snowball effect on me.

Day 37 6 February – Dude(r)

Today we celebrate Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s national day. A lot of people attend the celebrations at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds itself, others enjoy the day off with friends and family, celebrating this beautiful country. You can read more on the Treaty of Waitangi here.

I was at work for a few hours today, but late afternoon we went to a local regional park called Duder Regional Park. We have completed most of the walks at the park with the farm loop walk being the hardest one I have personally attempted. But the reward you do have afterwards is having the beach right at your feet. A 20 minute walk on a dusty gravel road and you hit the crisp blue waters. At low tide you can walk endlessly on the beach, taking you a few 100 metres in. Unfortunately I misjudged the tide schedule and we got there with the tide coming in. That didn’t stop us to still walk along the edge of the beach and the kids playing in the water. And again we saw fish jumping! I told my husband about these amazing little fish at Clarks Beach circussing in and out of the water, and today he got to see it for himself. He is reasonably convinced that it’s sardines. Where’s a fishing net when you need one?!

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After our trip we took my daughter’s friend home and we ended spending a few hours with her family who have become good friends of ours. We spontaneously decided to get pizzas for dinner and went to their local park, which is also right on the waters, to have a picnic dinner. It is here in the presence of family and friends, kids playing on the playground, the peaceful surroundings, a sense of belonging, that it dawned on me what Waitangi day symbolizes for me: freedom! Freedom from fear, indifference and judgement. Freedom to just live life.

Blessings to all New Zealanders.

 

Day 36 5 February – Clarks Beach

Today we discovered another beach, a well-known beach for most local South Aucklanders, but new to us. Clarks Beach is a small, delightful beach on the edge of Manukua Harbour. It certainly is a swimmers and paddling beach as there are no waves. I took my son, daughter and my daughter’s best friend late afternoon and we stayed until early evening. We walked along the beach to the furthest northern point we could go. There’s a lot of shade from the Pohutukawa trees that lines the edge of the beach. And oh my goodness, the water was warm! As my daughter’s friend said in great exclamation, “it’s as warm as a freakin’ spa”.

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About an hour into our visit, I saw what I thought was a fish jumping out of the water. Surely the bright glare and reflection from the sun played tricks on me. Perhaps something fell into the water. Not a minute later and I saw it again, this time I could clearly see that it was indeed fish jumping out of the waters. They would jump straight up into the air, or jump horizontally travelling approximately 2 meters across the surface. They provided a lot of entertainment to all the beach visitors. One even got as close as a metre from my son’s head. I have no idea what type of fish and if it’s a natural phenomenon for this area, but it was certainly a wonderful thing to witness.

Shortly before we left, another couple entered the ocean while their dog stayed behind on the beach. She was obedient and sat for a good 2 minutes before she noticed us and with a jubilant trot came over. The kids gave her hugs and patted her, but it was obvious that she’s not much into playing, and she came to sit down next to me on our blanket. And there she stayed happily while I scratched her tummy, neck, ears. She even gave me kisses on my cheek. I whispered in her ear and asked if she would like to come home with us for a visit, and I know she would have said yes if she could speak 😉 We named her Felicity and she’s my photo of the day.

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An exciting way to end a beautiful day.