Wanaka, Aotearoa New Zealand

March 21, 2021

Still.

Here, now six weeks (that feel like six months) into van life, I've washed up on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just over the Southern Alps.

The last few weeks have enlivened me, challenged me, taught me as much about this place as they have myself.

But being so full-on for every hour of every day has also reminded me of who I am: a hare, not a tortoise. I push hard, put everything in, and then I must stop. Rest. Recharge.

And here at the headwaters of the lake, a stream trickling past fed by nearby glaciers, that's finally what I'm doing.

If the wind's down, the only sounds you'll hear are the occasional oar and soft swoosh of a kayaker gliding across the surface. Kanuka sway, thousands of little fingers, playing in the wind.

Above the lake, mountains. Real ones. Snow-capped. Tree lines.

I was born in mountains like these, and there's something with how the light cuts through, how it breaks on the spines of rock that settles me.

Drops my heart rate. Plants my feet.

I think a lot about home out here. About how we're shaped by the landscapes we grew up in, find solace in their arms throughout our lives.

And for a few days more, at least - I'm going to stay.

I wonder - what landscape is home for you? What settles you down, pulls air deep into your lungs?

Feel free to write back anytime - I'd love to hear from you. :)

Have a grounded week, -Steven

The best thing I read all week was - like many weeks in my life - Merwin. Landing here, in a landscape that's seen the same story, it really hit home.

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