Waiheke, Aotearoa New Zealand

April 26, 2020

Becoming home.

It's funny the way life works out sometimes.

I've been living in New Zealand for good parts of four years now, wrestling with the tension between being a traveler, a global citizen, someone who's work and life is rooted in the world - and being a partner to a wonderful human to whom this country feels like home.

For the past couple months, I've been locked down in an empty little falling-apart cottage with a big heart. Fixing walls and floors, building the basic necessities. A bed. A table. A couch.

Nobody else has been here - but I haven't been alone.

See, just outside my back door, Aotearoa New Zealand was waiting. Like it has been, every day for four years, patient for me to notice.

The young tui that visits the same tree for dinner every day. The manuka full of bees and wasps getting in a last bit of summer sweetness. The piwakawaka that sing and play in the sunset. The clouds, condensed to life by a bit of land in a lot of water. The air. Sea air. Never still.

The general narrative about New Zealand is that its beauty is in its drama. The snowy peaks. The black sand beaches. The Lord-of-the-Rings landscapes. But here, still for the moment, I wonder if that might be misplaced. There is beauty here, deep. But it's in the land, breathing. Trees, growing. Not the beauty of sharp contrasts, but of slow motion. Waves. Breaths. Life.

I sit, writing to you, listening to birdsong, and wondering how I missed it all this time.

How it took being forced to sit down, not go anywhere, not move - to see what was right in front of my nose.

I'm certain a year or few from now, I'll be back out on the road. Learning, experiencing, sharing as much of this planet and its people as I can fit into my years.

But right now, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I'm really happy to just stay right here. In this place I've finally noticed. One that feels, every day, a little more like home.

Have a heart-felt week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I read all week was this brave and well-written description of what it's like to have COVID-19. Big heart and hugs to everyone out there who's dealing with it.

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