Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tangaroa (Endless Wealth)




1 November 2009
Makieke Stream
below Knights track on Ngamoko range
Ruahine

I was intending to walk up to the open tops of the Ngamoko and camp under the full moon and stars, then proceed to Leon Kingvig hut in the Pohangina valley in the morning. Having not been this way since 2005 I ignored the change to the track after crossing the creek. It used to amble for some distance climbing through farmland before entering the Ruahine. The bright orange markers heading up the steep spur I ignored, the now wired shut gate just beyond it I climbed over and proceeded to walk 45 minutes until I realized how stupid I had been. So I turned back and walked 45 minutes back to that steep spur and climbed it, arriving here 45 minutes later. It took me two and a half hours to walk what should have taken me less than an hour. When I arrived at this lovely little flat just before the truly steep work to the tops begins I threw off my pack, lie down in the sun, and choked back tears. I could go no further. My hip is done. I can no longer carry big loads deep into these mountains, and the added weight of my tent enough to make walking unbearable. I knew this day was coming, and it is here.

So instead of trying to get up top I pitched my tent here by the stream, and to the lullaby of water I crawled in and fell into a troubled sleep. I awoke in the late afternoon, gathered wood and built a little fire to sit by and ponder my future with this place I cannot imagine being without. I decided in the morning I will leave my camp and most of my gear here and somehow get up there. I need to do that one more time. I have put into place the schedule to have my right hip replaced in April of 2010. All going well it will be a long while between drinks of the sweet mountain nectar running beside me, and of course the very slight but real possibility the operation comes with complications and prevents my ever returning here has to be acknowledged. That thought fills me with uncertainty and even fear, and it is why I need to go up top one more time. I need to be there.



My campsite on Makieke stream (Coal Creek).


A little side stream which joins Makieke and rolls through the northern end of the flat. The climb up Knights track sidles alongside of the stream for a bit until steeply climbing away. The flat itself is by no means huge but certainly a cool place to roam and explore a bit, an excellent place to camp and one I can certainly get to with Charlie or Tara.


A lovely little spot in the Ruahine, a campsite of realizations.




A wee dram, mossy log to sit upon, looking northwest as the stream turns.




An interesting day, an emotionally moving afternoon in the Ruahine at a very elegant spot.




Early evening:


Sitting by the stream Listening to sounds of water, beautiful crystal clear pure mountain water. If there is a defining sound track to these mountains, for me, it is this Symphony, this soul soothing chorous which washes over me here in the moment when I most need to hear the Music. It is the comforting embrace of Mother Earth as she accepts my tears. I need this place far more than it needs my presence. Right now, with the looming prospect of never being here again close at my shoulder, I feel the closest to the very soul of these mountains as I have ever felt.


I have been blessed and honoured to have roamed in this place for over 16 years now. I have come to know the Ruahine fairly well, certain areas even intimately as is possible. In my heart and soul this is the most beautiful place on earth.


The forested spurs and ridges green, lush and steep, the golden tussock tops so brilliant to watch light play upon at sunrise, at sunset, at anytime really. The high ridge beech forest where the ever appealing but tenacious leatherwood emerges, on a lovely day with the gentle whisper of wind through the gnarly branches, the mosses and lichens pulsating and glowing, a place where Time takes on a different meaning. On a stormy day, in its own way, even more beautiful and a sign to beware ahead. It is the stormy days and nights here that are the ones where I learn the most. And of course, the mountain rivers and streams, each with their own unique and sublime presence and some of the places I love most of all in the myriad of possibility on offer. It is where the Whio sings.

In the world I can literally close my eyes and be here, Listen to this very sound. So I am never really far away from here. I have so many luxurious moments and memories of my interactions with these mountains, so the rich library I have accrued over the last 16 years, means that each day at some time I can simply reach inside me and recall, smell the woodsmoke upon me. I am Here. So should for some reason I never roam here again that is a sad and final thought, but one in this moment I can accept. I hope, of course, that is not the case, that within a year or so I am back here as good as new, but the possibility does exist. Perhaps it is just that this pain in my hip is also a reminder to breathe deep the fresh mountain air, to relish each sip of the cold clear water, to look sharply, deeply, and clearly at each detail with vivid clarity. To live this moment as if were my last. We should all live that way anyway. And if my last moment was to be here, I am okay with that.





Kaikawaka forest on Knights track. I always love the way trees of these forests seem to beseech the sky.



One of the rare relatively easy gradient patches on Knights track. It still is climbing but not as relentlessly so as in most stretches. As ever, the amazing tranquility of such spots in the forest reach out and stop in me in my tracks - and the opportunity to catch my breath as well.



If you accept it, there is so much energy flowing in these places.


2 November
Just below Tunupo peak
high on the Ngamoko range

Sitting in the tussock out of the blustery and cold wind. The tops just above me emerge for brief moments out of the swirling gathering cloud leaving only the creamy green flanks of the steep forest and the ribbons of brown slips below the grey veil. The sun pops out for brief periods and its warmth caresses me. When the golden tussock does reveal itself it takes on a rich golden lustre in the dimmed light.

I am overwhelmed to just be sitting here and part of it all. I have a little food, water, pen and paper and some extra warm gear. I could move up to Tunupo and get water at the tarns, even have a cup of tea or soup as I have brought my cooker and billy. But the gathering cloud and wind up there manage to keep that urge at bay. I am content to wait here and see. My little camp lies a few hours or so below me and I have all afternoon to return there.

My hip was still hurting but with much less weight and a few pills it was endurable. Never mind! I am here! Oh these rugged and wild tops! The tussock and leatherwood, the mosses and plants that cling to existence in this rugged sub alpine environment. I am seeing it all.



Looking north along the Ngamoko range, the tops cloud hidden.



Up towards Tunupo just starting to emerge out of the forest.



If you sit there long enough eventually a view will open up for brief moments. North again with the Whanahuia range on left, and the main Ruahine in the centre.



West towards the Rangitikei plains far below.




The little sheltered area I sat within teemed with sub alpine life, rich and lush and colourful, fragile yet capable of thriving in this unforgiving environment.



I am not sure what this mossy plant was or if I have ever encountered it before, but it was soft and silky and about a foot deep on a protected side of a boulder.




Symmetry, colour, Natures Gift. There was enough life and beauty in this small little area to keep me occupied for days.





Twisted and gnarled Kaikawaka with a large burl. The burl was completely soft and spongy.



A place I just had to stop and linger.



Back down to the stream and camp.


2 November
Early evening
Campsite

I took my time dropping back down through the forest stopping often to just pause and absorb the energy, to gaze upon the glowing splendour of the mosses and lichens as they greeted me and encouraged me to rest from my toils. It was a timeless day and walk, and encouraging that without the weight on my back I was able to connect with the high country.

Still as I sit here now by the river tending my little camp fire and ponder a future possibly without these moments I am filled with emotion once again. That I was fortunate enough at all to roam here warms my soul, the memories I have will never leave me, and in a way I am part of this place, these mountains. Just knowing this place is here, and others like it, or even more remote, more wild, with towering snow covered peaks, and raging angry rivers, that stir the souls of others as this place stirs mine. But none, to me, more beautiful. We need these places to simply be here.

The wind has changed to a quiet southerly and it has begun to mist as the night time chill of the mountain evening settles in. My camp is tidy and buttoned up. The rain splatters and hisses on the fire. John Muir once wrote, "never hurry through the rain" and I am not quite ready to say goodbye to this day. I think I will just sit here for awhile.









This particular dead Kaikawaka just stopped me in my tracks. It encapsulated my own feelings on a personal level dealing with my hip and concerns about my future interactions here, and also how the very soul of the mountains, of this wild place seems to be looking up and beseeching as to why we would want to alter them, attack them, abuse them for our short term financial benefit. Yet as this mountain wiarua or spirit pleads to the heavens, it's left hand raises a distinct and defiant message to the skies and the folly of man. In the end Nature will be supreme. So to Gerry Brownlee and all the corporate greedy money grubbing bastards, the right wing human centric plunderers, LEAVE IT ALONE!! May the wrath of nature spite you down should you lay one greedy finger upon it.
Rave on!
Kia kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

40 comments:

kylie said...

robb,
i can only sit and observe an important moment with you
xx

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Hi Robb

I felt your pain in this post of yours yet it was mixed with pleasurable delight you have experienced over and over again having bonded with the Ruahine environment superbly. So sad that your hip is acting up, but you are doing the right thing to address this problem now that you are still young, the healing process will be good. You will again enjoy those treks in the ranges once more.

Anyways, you have fantastic memories and awesome pictures of the Ruahine environment. Take the time now to transform your experiences from prose into poetry during the healing process that will begin once you have taken that surgery. Ruahine Poetry sounds delightful too. Do you agree? Deep down in my mind I know you will be walking through the ranges again. I wish for you the best in health. Shall chat again soon.

Cheers

Barbara Martin said...

Robb, your love for these wilderness areas shine through your words and photos. I can see you returning to your hikes after surgery. A friend, two years ago, had knee replacement surgery and he's walking the same distances he did before it. So things are quite possible that you'll be out walking and hiking again after.

I have severe osteoporosis of the spine and hip, and I still take my walks and my hikes though they tend to be shorter and of less strenuous nature. In the future, for the western Rockies I'll likely go on horseback and enjoy the sights from there (rode for years). Its important for one's soul to get out in nature to drink in the energy available from the trees and the wildness of nature.

The feeling you have for greedy corporations meets my own, and they will meet their due. Mother Nature is quite good at taking care of herself.

Marja said...

Dear Robb so sorry to hear about your hip. I am sure everything is going to be all right and the replacement goes fine and then you can go out and about again without troubles to your beloved ruahines.
The pictures look so gorgeous,that one just couln't love it. I love all the mosses and the trees are so majestetic
I never had the stamina to do long tracks but a dream is coming true. I am going to walk a 4 day track in the Abel Tasman Park next April with a friend. It is fairly easy going and an absolute paradise. Because
I couldn't handle heavy weight we arrange they bring the backpacks from hut to hut.
Take care, arohanui marja

Lost Coyote said...

I feel your pain brother...I know what you mean when you say, "I need to be there" and "I need to see it" and I think that we will continue to be able to see the places we need to see...I HAVE to think that...there is no other option...so take heart...you'll be back with the new hip...

Concerning your comment on Lost Coyote, it's good to know that there are people that still stand up for wildlife (be it Blue Duck or Elk) and wild places. You stand on the bum hip and I'll stand on the bum knee. We stand together brother, half a word apart. I just wish it didn't hurt to stand!

I'll toast a cup of spring water to you today...and a shot of whisky tonight...we may yet live to, as Abbey says, "dance on the graves of our enemies..."

The "corporate greedy money grubbing bastards" haven't seen the holy places you've seen...they live the lives of worms, without light and without eyes to see...

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie,
And I am glad to have your spirit beside me. Cheers.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
Always good to read of your presence here. I hope you are happy and well and judging by your recent poems have had a few changes as well!
Thank you for your encourgement, and for pointing the possibility of new doors opening, i.e. poetry. For when I close my eyes I can put myself there and slowly enjoy each detail. Not that I am a very good poet, but nothing wrong with trying!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
I have also taken great hope in the words and stories such as yourself, JJ from Nature Shows, KB from Romping and Rolling in the Rockies, and Bob McKerrow. All people whom have overcome physical difficulties to remain amongst nature and whose relationship with her is probably more intense as a result. Bob had both knees replaced last year and is a new man, so I take hope and work ethic from his story alone as I was there to meet him not long after he had the double surgery done.
Pretty amazing to be inspired by these wonderful people I have connected with via this medium.
Our greed as a race will eventually be obliterated by Nature. Kia kaha Barbara!
Aroha,
Robb

Tim Koppenhaver said...

Robb,
Getting older has taken a toll on me - I don't hike, run, or stay awake near a long as I used to. But I'm OK with that. It's made me more open minded. I don't plan cross country bike rides, or 15-mile-a-day hikes anymore. A short jaunt into the woods has become good enough for me and also serves to bring back the memories of some of the bigger adventures I've already completed. Having said that, I'm sure your recovery will be complete and you'll be back on top of a Ruahine peak soon. If not, half way up is still pretty good.
Take care.
TK

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
Thank you for your well wishes and support. I hope your words hold true and I will be roaming there again pain free, or relatively so.
I love the photos too, though it is so hard to capture the real essence of being there in the moment, the vividness and beauty is far beyond my skills as a photographer and my little camera. But looking at them now, I do like them. They bring back the moments very clearly.
You will enjoy the Abel Tasman, I have had friends do it and it is beautiful, and in April you will find it more peaceful, less crowded. That concept of walking with a small daypack while the heavy gear is transported for you is quite good. Particularly for those who start to get beyond carrying big loads but still love nature. A matter of adjustment, and perhaps acceptance as well. Keep up the walking now so you are good and fit! Will look forward to following that journey with you.
Aroha,
Robb

Phillip Collyns said...

Hey Robb

Looks like I have to take a break from tramping too I've run myself into the ground hopefully a month rest is all I need! Can't keep up with my father!!!

Added the another hell mission to Overnight Hell Missions-
Circuit from Hell in the Ruahine Remote Lunatic Zone

There were ledges where the river level is when it floods. We came to a nipple deep pool so we sidled high on the true left which was a mistake because of the supplejack and no way back into the river. We did find a way off down a gut once we had smashed our way through the supple jack and whiteywood. Another one of these pools was not far downstream with vertical cliffs so no sidling was going to occur here. I left Dad murmuring to himself and made my way down a rock ridge in the middle of the creek and slid into the pool which was just over waist deep! Dad not wanting to be stuck there soon followed. (See photo of him sliding into the pool) Murphy's Law round the corner was another impassable one so we were forced to swim it since we can't/don't want to go back upstream. The stream did eventually open up like we had been saying a couple times upstream but it was near the forks of Makawakawa and Anderson Streams.

Cheers
Phillip

www.freewebs.com/hellmission/

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lost Coyote,
Here I sit brother, already missing those mountains and planning some way to get back amongst them before the time comes to go under the knife. And I will. There are those of us who NEED TO BE THERE, so I thank you for supporting me and my bad hip as I support you and your knee. Together we stand as one in the wild!
When I built a little fire out there I thought long and hard about you and Adam, felt your spirits swirling around the fire, and I listened. It was a powerful moment.
I shall savour the thoughts of spring water, whiskey, and your presence.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tim,
Though I hope to one day resume some longer more rugged tramps, I have also learned or am learning that to simply be amongst wild, or fairly wild places has benefits as well. I am learning to tune into the feelings I gather from what I have taken their in the past in much shorter doses, yet still bring it home with me and appreciate it, apply it to my life out here. And yes, even halfway up a mountain takes one through beautiful and interesting terrain. Thanks for your kind thoughts.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Phillip,
Yea mate you have been hitting it pretty hard lately! Take it easy dude, the mountains ain't going anywhere, though I do admire and wistfully sigh at your youthful exhuberance.
Diggers is right in my backyard of Palmerston North. You should call in for a cup of tea next time! Send me an email and I will give you my phone numbers.
I know from my wifes uncle, who lives and farms not far from the entry point that the creek is real nasty brute, as you discovered, and even over the ridge is a trying endeavour. The problem is, on the maps is looks pretty easy, but you get into some rugged country very quickly. Glad it all turned out okay - 12 hours is a long day on the trot mate! Be over to look at the photos as I could not access them earlier as my computer crashed. Keep on truckin' - but have a rest first!
Cheers,
Robb

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Robb

The photos are superb and your writing gets better and better every time I come to your blog.

I walked with you Robb, and that enamel mug with a dram in it reminded me of that all too short time Tara, you and I had together in Ch Ch. I will be back in the South Island for two and a half weeks over Christmas with Naila and the boys. I need to camp at Aoraki and let my eyees caress her lines and dream of the ridges I wafted over, light and sure-footed. I want the boys to feel the snow beneath their feet on the Tasman neve. My old mate Alec Millar, will take us in by ski plane. Alec is still flying at 69.

see ya mate.

Arohanui.

Ropate.

D'Arcy said...

Dear Robb,

Life is so full of those literal and metaphorical climbs isn't it? Any moment, any event could be our last time and then it's gone.

I keep wondering if it's a good thing to know it's our last time, like you feel about that big climb. Or if that's just too hard to know and it's better not to be aware. I'm hung up on the fact that the last time I kissed my boyfriend I DIDN'T know it was my last time. Would I have done it differently, made it last longer...held his face a little longer? I just don't know. Maybe. Maybe not.

The idea of loss is a hard one to take.


I love being transported to your mountains again. It's been to long, but my life is starting to calm down again!


Much love.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Thanks for your feedback, always appreciated. I think I write best when I write from the heart, and in the mountains that is much more accessible to me. I thought about you a lot out there, taking heart in your battle back from having the knee replacements.
Yes that was an enjoyable meeting in spite of your just having emerged the surgery, and that party was certainly a memorable one with highly interesting company. Ed Cotter, Robert Headland, Colin and Betty Monteath, Robin Judkins, Jamie, your lovely daughters, indeed the night was a good one. Tara and I had a great time.
I hope you and the boys get some great weather and soak up the energy and ambiance of those mountains you know so well.
It would be great to see you on one of your return trips in the future. I would love to spend some time in the Ruahine with you, or on a mountain somewhere anyhow! I would definitely pack the tin cups and a few wee drams.
Kia kaha Bob. Always good to read from you.
Cheers,
Robb

troutbirder said...

Your feeling for these beautiful places came thru your words and pictures. Well done Robb. And being a veteran of successful knee replacement surgery, believe me, you will go where you want to again. I hike with my dog and camera farther than ever before. But I gave up hunting and tennis because it was time. And the BWCAW will probably never see my canoe again but I sleep well at night knowing its still there and safe and protected. :)

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
Always good to see you here as well! I feel quite a bit of synchronicity to your recent post on that which we miss. That melancholia of missing something even as the moment itself is still unfolding in front of us. There is beauty in that as well, as while by no means do I want to say goodbye to these treasured mountains in a physical sense, the clarity that possibility brings was amazing.
Glad to read your life is calming down, you and your sister have been in my thoughts. I am sure Gustav and I will be raising a toast to you in a few weeks time.
Kia kaha my friend.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora TB,
How synchronistic again, to read your post and of your own knee replacement and renewed vigour! And moreso another story of hope and encouragement with my own future tramping.
I would love to push off from an entry point into the majestic waters of the BWCAW one more time!
Cheers,
Robb

RedLogix said...

Hello again Robb. Would it be ok if I just read your posts instead of actually tramping? I know it's cheating, but the way you convey it so vividly I'm able to get the good bits of being in the bush... without all the hard work and discomfort... hehe.

The hip sounds a total bastard. I went through a bad knee about a decade ago, but with minor surgery and several years of patience it has healed better than ever. At the same time it was a wake up call that I couldn't go on tramping in the somewhat unthinking way I had been, it was time to be a lot more aware of what I was doing to my body.

The three elements are, body weight, pack weight and proper centeredness which I found from yoga.

The kind of hard man tramping we can do in our 20's is very stressful on the body and you just cannot keep it up. At some point I had to re-think what I was doing and how. It's still very much a work in progress, but I'm hopeful.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora RL,
Feel free to stop in anytime. There is a pretty good library here of Ruahine tramps and places to peruse when not actually out amongst such places.
Interesting to heed your words and think of the phases I have gone through in my time out in the mountains. The period of raw discovery and rushing from place to place, 8-12 hour days then pack up and move on the next morning. Then sort of wondering why rush away from so many cool and wonderful places, staying a couple nights in spots like Maropea Forks, Upper Makaroro, or the McKinnon- Crow area on the Hikurangis, slowing the days down to 6-8 hours on the go. The past few years adapting to my growing hip problem and keeping the options open, walking on my own ahead my companion John slowly and quietly, but in some ways the most enjoyable tramps of all - until the pain factor becomes too much.
And thank you for the three elements. I am definitely interested in doing some yoga once my hip is done, and the body weight I am addressing as well after that last painful tramp. I am a big guy, 6'2 120 kilos, but need to be down in the 105-110 range really. I could get away with carrying a bit extra 10 years ago but no more. So for the first time in years I am being very strict about what I am eating and why I am eating it.
As you allude to, trying to adapt what I can do to carry on a love of these wild places. I am hopeful as well.
Thanks for dropping in RL. Appreciate the thoughts. Do you get out in the Ruahine much?
Cheers,
Robb

vegetablej said...

Hi Robb:

Keep your spirits up! My aunt had at least one hip replacement and she's not only walking she's throwing rocks around in her garden, at almost 80, so I wouldn't give up hope yet. However, I'd just like to say that your first camp spot is absolutely beautiful, too, and the envy of all us apartment dwellers in the city.

I finally got up the pakora recipe with all the veggies inside, if you want to take a look. Hope you'll try it and tell me if it's good or make some suggestions of your own.

With winter coming on here, I so envy your spring.

Those are the cutest, sweetest little boy faces!

:)

Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
Cheers. I must write I am becoming very heartened by some of the successes shared here, and even via email from others. Yes, that campsite is a pretty neat spot, far removed from camp ground type atmosphere. I will return there.
I have checked out the recipe and will give it a go. Looks wonderful. Tara and I were guests at a Maroi hangi this weekend, just loads of beautiful food and a large variety for both meat eaters and vegetarians. And we have Thanksgiving in a few weeks combined with Tara's birhtday so my cooking pots will be going hard.
I will give the boys a cuddle for you!
Aroha,
Robb

KB said...

Robb,

I had no idea that we were facing such similar situations and fears. You expressed those feelings so well.

I've progressively lost capabilities over the years. I can no longer backpack, carrying camping supplies on my back deep into the wilderness. I can't sleep on the ground. I can't even hike very far when I'm not wearing a backpack.

But, each time I've lost something, I've found some other way to immerse myself in nature. So, even if each of our fears are realized, we'll find a way to enjoy our worlds - we both love our wilderness too much to let it go.

After my last very tough back surgery, I was home-bound for 4 months. I dreaded it ahead of time. But, an amazing thing happened to me. I started noticing the details of nature that bustled all around me but I'd never really focused on before. Those four months changed me forever. Now, when I can take forays into our local forests, I see much more than I ever did before.

Life is surprising and your own resilience will also surprise you. Kia kaha. Thanks for teaching me that phrase - it may become my motto.

Lynda Lehmann said...

Robb, I think this is the most passionate and poignant of your posts that I have read. And it is no wonder, given the fear of being unable to experience these (relatively) untouched places, in your future.

But I have confidence that the odds are greatly in your favor, for a hip replacement and full recovery to an active and capable state of physical being.

Your post inspires me and gives me courage, and I know that we who love nature so deeply, are kindred spirits. Your words and photos very aptly bring home the beauty and the majesty, and reinforce in me, the awe and wonder of "Being."

Thank you for sharing your passion.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
Discovering your place has been another inspirational source. The relish and love you undertake your daily journey with in spite of your physical battle is very stirring. And as you write finding the ability to see more, to focus on the more minute details has already been a great gift resulting from my slowed pace.
When ever I visit your place I always say quietly, "Kia Kaha KB", it suits you as well as anyone I know.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
Thank you for your encouragement and support. You are a kindred spirit, and like the thoughts of those whom leave their wonderful presence here I feel the energy and aroha.
I have a few "easier" trips planned before the surgery, so I hope to continue to share the passion, and of course enjoy yours as well. Kia kaha Lynda.
Aroha,
Robb

Pam said...

Hey Robb - it is heartening, all that has been written here in response to a beautifully revealing and reflective post.I'd like to add that I wish you all the best, and admire your ability to listen, to Nature,and to that pain, that while seeming to hold you back, is simply warning you that attention is required.I am sure your operation will be a wonderful success.Husband and I are going camping next month.Me, old osteo-Pam-osis! Medical intervention has put me back on the path literally, and once again I've been "summonsed by Nature", to the Eastern states, to Gippsland and Bogong this time.Can't wait.This was a lovely post. I always enjoy your honesty, writing about something so many of us feel passionate about.Thank-you!.

Joe McCarthy said...

Robb:

As always, your word and photos are inspiring, as are the comments left here by other readers and friends.

I wish you all the best in your upcoming surgery, and am glad you are taking the time to fortify yourself with doses of natural energy.

You may not know it, but you're also fortifying yourself through your blogging practice. I've been reading - and enjoying - a book on Consequential Strangers, that talks about the importance of the "social succor" we get from people we interact with outside of our most intimate inner circle of friends. In addition to the outpouring of support through comments on the blog, the writing itself is therapeutic.

Last night, I read a chapter highlighting the health benefits of such interactions, which included references to research demonstrating the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing and the psycho-social therapeutic benefits of physical activity.

Anyhow, I'm probably getting overly technical - or psychological - here, but I wanted to let you know that I believe you will enjoy a full recovery, and an subsequent return to the mountains ... and there is growing scientific evidence that a post-surgery renewal of your hiking - and writing - practices, possibly with some adjustments, will provide a virtuous circle to promote that recovery.

And, if you'll excuse a bit of philosophical indulgence, this post again reminded me of Pirsig's book :)

Joe.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
Thank you, and I too am heartened by the words and thoughts here from others. That is wonderful to read you will be back camping and amongst nature and I will look forward to you sharing that with us. It is so amazing to read of so many people being able to overcome so many physical obstacles, and adapt to perhaps a different but still beautiful relationship with the natural world. Kia ora Pam.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Joe,
Thanks as always for your thoughts and contribution, and links which lead to more interesting places.
I agree about the "social succor" of these places and communities. There can be a certain level of being genuine and honest in this format, both in the reader and writer, that has really amazed me, and at times I find the discussions and observations by the those who comment far more interesting than my initial thoughts. I can also back that up by having met a few fellow bloggers in person and writing each one has matched the words written with genuine clarity in person. And therapeutic indeed - just writing the words down about the state of my hip and honestly confronting where I am with it was a big step forward.
Thanks for your warm wishes and thoughts Joe. I don't want to go off on any new age tangets, but at times the energy I have felt from a far has been quite noticeable, and helps me keep an eye cast towards the mountains with hope. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Donald said...

>I feel the closest to the very soul of these mountains as I have ever felt.

Dear Robb

Your amazing post has given me a taste of the soul, not only of yourself, but of the places you love. Thank you for sharing not only the good stuff, but the very flavour of your feelings. It takes courage to write this way and express emotions. This same courage will see you right in April, and during the long months leading to what will transform your life.

In the last few days one of my old friends has walked the Routeburn in very trying conditions - I guess he had his hip done a year or two ago now. He's posted a bit so far on his trip, but says more is coming.

Also just yesterday I sat in on a meeting with my old friend Mary who runs the x/c skiing area near here. Her op. [two new hips in one op.] was just a few weeks ago, yet she walked with no aids to the venue. She is so delighted and it looks like if she honours the post operation advice, she'll be skiing 42 Kms again in the likes of her Merino Muster annual race.

Take care my friend

Cheers

Donald

Ruahines said...

KIa ora Donald,
I think I am a far better writer sitting in the mountains with a little notebook scrawling away, than I am out here. It is very simple for me to be open and honest there, there is no alternative.
Thank you for the thoughts and the experiences of others. It is all very moving to me to have accrued such wide and varied thoughts of support and well wishes. As I have written above the energy becomes noticeable.
I am starting to believe I will be back in the mountains with a new lease on Being There. I hope one day we get a chance to roam them together. Kia kaha.
Cheers,
Robb

Jamie said...

Kia ora Robb,

Hope all is well mate

Just a little note to thank you for the invitation to thanksgiving a while back. I was hoping we would be able to make it, but as Penny has an exam on Monday it isn't going to happen.

All the best for it and I hope many great stories are told.

I seem to have lost my story telling, or writing voice of late. I guess that just sometimes happens aye. We have been keeping active and enjoying sport and nature, but yeah the words don't just pop out.

Take care aye and call in when you are down this way my cell is 0226293621

Jamie

Maithri said...

Wonderful to read your words again dear brother...

May wings of healing surround you and speed you to that place where you can be where you need to be...

The earth speaks to you and through you...to each of us,

And we are all so blessed because of it,

Soft peace to surround you,

M

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Jamie,
No worries mate, hope Penny did well on the exam. It was a good evening of Thanksgiving and Tara's 40th. A small but lively crowd, and a good time had by all. Another time eh.
I understand completely the need to step away from here when the words don't seem to come easily. They are in there brewing and will emerge when ready.
Cheers for the number - I will plug it into my phone and have it at the ready.
Kia kaha brother.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Maithri,
Thank you brother for the visit and the energy and beauty of your words.
I have felt a bit quiet as of late, but the mountains still call strongly and I am finding new ways to be there.
Kia kaha Maithri, and the best of the seasons wishes to you, and to all whom you fight for.
Aroha,
Robb

Ophelia Rising said...

Robb, I don't quite have the words, but will try. I am sad and rather upset to hear about your hip trouble, and hope that it will reverse itself, as you say, in a year or so. These types of things allow me to realize how amazing and lovely life is, in every moment, and help me appreciate even more the intense beauty and deep profundity of life and everything that's a part of this world. I know you realize this, and absolutely know the gifts that life, in all its greatness and sorrow, can offer a person. And if I can just feel this fresh appreciation that you so obviously feel, and keep it in me, always able to access it, then life would never be dull or mediocre to me. But it's hard to keep these thoughts, and I find myself griping and carrying on some days, not seeing the beauty, the richness, but simply getting bogged down in daily frustrations and thoughtless rants.

Life is truly rich, whether one is atop a mountain or gazing at a single blade of grass. I am, as much as your post moves me to tears, grateful for every bit of it, and know you are, too. But I do feel sad, and long for the thing you are longing for - that is, the never-ending, full-throttle life of purpose and ability to physically explore and enter into the heaven that I know is here on earth, wherever that might be for me. I know where it is for you. I suppose that "heaven" wouldn't be the correct term, maybe. "Home" would likely be a better word for your Ruahines.

And there is the strange sensation of missing a place while you are still there - something I know you've felt before, and something I feel quite a bit. A sense of longing and quiet wistfulness, a melancholy that exists, even in the best and most spectacular of experiences. It's life, I suppose, showing itself in its every aspect, and I feel grateful for this, too.

Your photos are amazing, and your words ring through like lyrical poetry, and I'm so moved and lifted, and also filled with tears. I'm absolutely enthralled and taken with the Kaikawaka with the large burl. It's an amazing giant, a god, lifting his great head to the sky - strong, steady, unmoving - but yet vulnerable, as we all are, to the elements, and to time.

You are indeed a wise man and a poet, Robb. Can't wait to read your book. :)
Kia kaha!
Aroha,
O/M
xo

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
You always seem to see what I see in photos, and I think that is very cool. Your words reflect how and what I feel about the Ruahine very strongly. I wish I could write I had no moments of blackness, mundaneness, or moody triviality out here, but that would be a lie. In the mountains that is true. I am never quite sure what to make of that other than it slowly impacts me out here - and that has to be good. B It has taught to me to appreciate the real good moments as they happen. It is so good to read from you and I wish you and your beautiful family the best of holiday seasons. Thank you for your good wishes and I feel your energy and hopefully I will continue to roam in the place which has become Home. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb