Today I’m writing from my mum’s house in Oratia. It’s a blustery day and the wind is wailing outside, in that way that used to drive me insane but now is almost comforting. I’ve missed this. The quiet, the green. This is, and always will be, my home.
Don’t get me wrong; the city is great. It’s great for convenience. It’s great for independence. It’s great for the minimal lifestyle that I’ve been trying to cultivate (with mixed results; damn you Recycle Boutique!). It is not, however, great for happiness. It’s loud, all the time. It’s busy. It’s claustrophobic. There’s nowhere I can be alone; at any given time our neighbours can walk out onto their balcony and see the entirety of our tiny studio apartment. For someone who needs quiet solitude to recharge my emotional batteries, it can be truly exhausting.
Last night, after a day of struggling to write anything of substance, feeling the walls closing in around me under the pressure of the city’s million or so scurrying occupants, I felt so homesick for my place in Oratia that I almost cried. Instead I made a haphazard version of my mum’s fish pie and ate it in bed, and almost cried again.
And today here I am. I’m a 40 minute train ride from the city centre, and yet it feels like a different world. The flax plants are waving their leaves like anemones in an ocean current; on a better day there would be Tui and Rosellas feasting among their flowers. Further away, the taller trees are as still and steady as they have ever been. I think many of them have been here longer than people have.
And here I am, writing from my heart in a way that I have not done for a long time. I am breathing in the good of this place, and breathing out the bad, all the stress and discomfit that has settled like poison in the bottom of my lungs. Reconnecting with everything that made me.
Here I am, Oratia. I’m home.