Bronchitis greeted me when DH and I returned from our 30th anniversary trip Down Under.
Tomorrow, a long‐delayed root canal will greet my awakening.
Alas. Such is the life of a weary RoadBroad.
The bronchitis kept me from these pages last week. Thank you, Ellen, for granting me the expanded recovery time.
About that amazing trip: here’s a look back at our last days in New Zealand, the best part of our journey.
New Zealand is a country formed of two connected islands. Temperatures are much colder. No boiling hot days like the red‐hot bake that preceded our swing through Oz. It’s impossible to imagine smoky Sydney busting the mercury at 107 degrees this past week. We whined at highs of 103 degrees during our Uluru sweat three weeks ago?
Hobbiton is a vast tourist trap on the North Island of New Zealand. It sits smack amid a still‐active sheep and beef farm, a property so beautiful that when movie director Sir Peter Jackson choppered over the land he knew immediately it was the perfect home to open his adaptation of J.R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. A swamp was dug out and today, 44 Hobbit homes remain nestled in for tourists paying $84 per person to walk, play, and explore.
More interesting to me were the surrounding gently rolling hills of the North Island.
Look closely and you’ll spot some of New Zealand’s extinct volcanoes on the far horizon.
These hills undulate for miles, returning to mind previous sights of unspoiled English countryside vistas. Only later did I spot the contrail high in the sky. I silently cursed the white vapors for bringing the modern world into this Edenic scene.
Then it was off to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, called the newest geothermal area in the world.
Having arrived in New Zealand the same day its White Island volcano erupted with horrific results, DH and I anticipated a wild history and education in the Waimangu Valley. Its hundreds of bubbling and steaming ponds, craters and rock formations serve as New Zealand’s answer to America’s Yellowstone Park. What stunned us both was the explosion of color that unfolded as we walked:
My final stop in New Zealand revealed the perfect words on a simple book sack. Instead of wasting this perfect bag, I incorporated it into my only home holiday decorations this year.
Christmas lands soon.
I’m as ready as I plan to be, having reached that age where trees and lights and shiny balls with tinsel hold no curiousity, meet no unfilled need.
This year, with all its memories, brings wisdom to recognize need from want.
Then: accept it all.
And keep moving.