Eyes Down

Maybe I need validation after all.  I’m achieving things.  I’m feeling pleased with myself.  I’ve lost 12 kg.  On Saturday I met some friends for a walk and a picnic at Mary Cairncross nature reserve and actually managed to walk considerably further than I have been able to do in well over a year.  It is a good place to walk. The gravel path is relatively even and there are seats situated conveniently along the tracks for old codgers like me to rest a bit.  Best of all, the wildlife is fascinating.  Lots of birds, some of which I haven’t met before.  The most  interesting was the green catbird, a species of bowerbird that has a cry like a wailing cat, or a baby.   I encountered a couple of pademelons, which are cute miniature wallabies that live in the rainforest.

I missed a python, as about half way up a loop track I realised I’d had enough, and should conserve my last energies for the return walk.  Of course, I later learned shortly after i sat down to rest and await the others’ return, they encountered a beautiful carpet python.  Just my luck.

Sitting still is a great way to see birds.  I saw my first yellow throated scrubwren.  By twittering with pursed lips against the back of my hand, as we do in New Zealand to attract the piwakawaka, I managed to get a pair of them to come quite close. But they flitted about so much and were so tiny, I could not get a picture. I had forgotten to take my cameras, and an iPhone is useless for this kind of photography.

Spot the bird.
Where the yellow breasted scrubwrens were:
pademelon
Believe it or not, there is a pademelon in this photo. It’s a ninja in the bush.

Today was another great day.  I disintered my mask and snorkel and, once in the water, soon learned that I can swim much better with them than without.  The ache in my neck and shoulders was not from swimming, but from holding up my head.  Once I started swimming head down and breathing through the snorkel everything became more efficient.  I swam faster, though still not as fast as my neighbours in the next lanes. It was easy to average 9 lengths per 15 minutes with a steady rhythm.  I did a length of the pool in less strokes.  I did 50 lengths easily in 90 minutes and set out to do another 50.  I managed 76 in 140 minutes and realised that I should have had more than coffee and a mandarin for breakfast.  Hunger gnawed at my vitals, and I thought of the lean beef curry waiting in the slow cooker.  So I called it a day.  More tomorrow.

I have been a face down swimmer for decades.  Today reminded me how I like to swim.  I have not used my mask and snorkel since Fiji, now ten years ago.  As soon as the ocean warms up a bit, I shall get out my Scubapro Jetfins and work on strengthening my legs. They are fins that take a lot of power to use.   I’ve had those fins since January 1979 in which year I won the Hawkes Bay underwater orienteering competition with them.  The last time I used them was in Fiji too.

 

Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

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