I feel slightly guilty at wanting to get AWAY from my family on Mother’s Day weekend, but that’s exactly what I was craving. A day without the incessant “Why, why Mom?” or “What? What, Mom?” I distinctly remember when Milo was 2 looking forward to him learning some language, and other Moms warning me that once he learned to talk, all I’d want was quiet….well, their prophesy has come true.
This morning I drove up to Arthur’s Pass, nearly two hours of uninterrupted podcasts, only to find the valley shrouded in low cloud. I climbed up through the beech forest gloom, wishing I’d picked another day to walk Bealey Spur, reputedly a lovely ridge walk with spectacular views.
The lichens are spectacular in the fog. Maybe it’s the closed-in feeling or maybe it’s the gentle quality of the light, but these beech forest adornments are brilliant in the mist.
A luxury of hiking alone is the ability to stop and scrutinize plants (in this case lichens, which are really fungi and algae living together).
I’m still not sure what these pink fruits are. These tiny plants put forth a massive effort at reproduction, proportional to their size.
As I climbed the cloud started to thin and sunspots appeared, illuminating the beaches festooned with their old man’s beard lichen.
These sassy orange berries glowed in the clearing fog.
The beech forest feels a bit like home to me, at least a bit like that subalpine birch zone in the Adirondacks where the lichens bedeck the branches. Lots of greenery, makes the heart glad!
Ah, the first “cuppa” stop. As per usual, Kiwis shorten anything in language that is more than two syllables long, so “cup of tea” becomes a “cuppa.” I sat my back against a rock in the warm sun and watched the clouds thinning below as I hugged my cup of tea.
Next to me the tussock grasses were flowering, and I had time to notice.
Clouds have evaporated enough to see the Waimakariri river down below. I could hear a kia.
Winter is coming–the Southern Alps are capped in snow, and in the shade the mud is frosty.
There now, it’s a brilliantly clear day with hardly a breath of wind. I’m glad I came.
Second “cuppa!” It’s so simple to stop when I’m hiking alone. No admonishments about cliff edges, no wheeling and dealing over snacks.
I’m happy to report that after a day to myself I came back to the kids and realized that if I was away from Milo and Naomi every day from 8 to 5, I’d really miss them. I’d hardly see them. And they won’t be little for long. Even when the kiddiness wears a wee bit thin, being home with them a lot is a good compromise for this era of life.