As the end of the year draws near and Christmas passes my anticipation always grows. Why? Well, three full weeks at my most happiest of places; Red Beach, Orewa. Ever since I can remember my family has packed up the car with boogie boards, togs, piles of books, stripey towels and headed up to Pinewoods Motor Park.
Pinewoods is a huge motor park made up of baches – big and small – scattered all over the park, camper vans with stripey tents attached or parked in car parks and tents – located in a large green field. There’s always something to do. The start of January at Pinewoods comes with an activity schedule. All organised by lovely Jenny; with her short white hair and friendly grin. She’s watched me grow up. The activities are always the same; sports day on the green, talent quest on the stage, sand castle competition, new years party, disco, scavenger hunt, movies on the green – with the large white screen for movies to be projected onto as you snuggle in blankets on the grass – and more. You’d be crazy not to participate.
We rent out our friends small Bach, right on the hill; number one, Mermaid Ave. Every year I don’t know how we cram ourselves into it; Mum, Nick -(my older brother), Michael (my twin brother), Marie (my younger sister) and me. It’s a short walk to Red Beach – a beach full of white sand and covered in bright red shells, hence it’s name! And a minutes walk to Jacob’s Ladder – clamber down the steep concrete steps to millions of rock pools and a cove; which at high tide is perfect for jumping off the rocks and cliff. Just down the steep – and i mean steep – hill, as you pass the great willow tree, you come to the green. A great stretch of grass that kids play football and catch on; with the playground to the left. Our friends also come up. That’s how we become friends initially. There’s Michaela (basically just another sister at this point), her mum, Debbie, -who both Marie and I call Mama Cowley – and her little brother Jacob.
The days are long, almost endless, and it doesn’t matter what you fill it with; whether you lounge around in your damp togs reading, swim all day, or watch any reality show on T.V. Those three weeks are my summer. They’ve always been my summer. So, this year I wanted to document it somehow. This summer, just like many before, was full to the brim with moments. Small moments, big moments and my favourite; moments that aren’t considered to be moments. I thought I would write down some of them that resonated with me or made me happy this summer. Here’s a list of them, framed in words, to give you – My Summer.
Spending the whole day with Marie and Michael; for once those two getting along. We skim stones during low tide at the cove and lie on the grass on the green, pretending to see shapes in the clouds – when really there were no clouds at all.
Sitting on the passenger side, mum driving, as we get endlessly lost while trying to go grocery shopping AND even though mum pretty much knows the area like the back of her hand. But having a bag of cherries between us as we stumble on new subdivisions that look out upon everything and briefly seeing Shakespeare Park; it’s water so
clear and blue.
The New Year ticking over the old. Holding hands with my mum, my brother, my sister, Michaela, Mama Cowley and Jacob in a circle – people in my life who I really care about. We sing ‘Old Lang Syne’ at the top of our lungs, while moving in and out, towards each other and back again. My heart full with love.
Sleeping in late on a rainy summer day. Waking up slowly to the New Year and sitting on the couch, watching random reality shows with a hot cup of caramel coffee to sip.
Lying on the double bed in the Bach talking with my older brother Nick about music. We talk about how nice it is to listen to people like Hozier, James Bay and the Arctic Monkeys who bleed passion, which you can sense and feel through their music. We talk about how that seems to be not so common anymore and how weird that really is.
All the Days
Blasting James Bay; the soundtrack to my summer.
Finally going swimming after three days straight of rain and having the feeling of nothing else mattering, except for the waves rolling over me.
One huge wave. Just as it is at breaking point I jump over it and feel – for a brief second – like I’m flying, before plummeting under the water.
The wind blowing and churning around me. I see seagulls and lift my arms to fly along with them as I run along the sand.
After a long day, coming together and having shared dinners with our friends every few nights, taking turns to cook. It’s like we’ve surpassed friendship and reached a point very few people get to; a dynamic people wish for.
Walking along Orewa Beach and talking to Michaela the whole time. Suddenly realising that we were so engrossed in our conversation about being independent and being afraid that we reached the end of the beach.
Lying upside down on the hill so we could almost roll backwards and continue rolling down to the bottom. Seeing the large willow tree and cloudy sky from a different point of view – literally.
Winning overall in the camps talent quest with Marie and going on stage to collect the trophy while eating my ice-block and laughing – in complete shock.
Running into the ocean, then making sand balls and castles – completely covering myself in sand – and then running back into the ocean a big sandy mess.
Watching Nick, Michael, Marie and Michaela playing scum with the StarWars prequel cards. Looking at how well Michaela fits into the family while my brothers tease her endlessly as if she is just another sister. She hits them in retaliation.
Marie and I walking Michaela back to her Bach and hugging each other goodnight until tomorrow. Michaela in the middle, Marie on one side, me on the other. Our bodies being lit from behind to form a shadow resembling one thing, one person; all our bodies connected to create not a them, but an us.
Going to swim at the beach at 11:30pm on my birthday, dragging everyone with me because I had this feeling about it. Lying on my back in the surprisingly warm water and looking right up to a completely clear, deep, blue sky. The stars shinning so brightly that I can spot both Orion and the Southern Cross; feeling at home.
Reading past journal entries out loud to Michaela and Marie. All of us laughing together over how embarrassing, silly and incomprehensible some of them are. For example: “Why can’t I shine out like sunbeams? I am a Caterpillar.”
Sharing the double bed with Michaela and kicking each other and rolling over, pretending to hog the bed. Just like little kids fighting over space.
Sitting out on the deck with Michaela after a swim – still soaking wet. Having the intention of reading, but, after a few minutes putting our books to the side, eating our golden peaches right down to the core and just sitting in the blazing sun. Sometimes talking, laughing, being silly and sometimes just sitting, being, existing in silence.
Running down to the park in bare feet. Letting the hours slip away as we pass the nerf ball between Michael, Marie, Michaela and I. Then playing table tennis outside – me being competitive, Marie being angry and Michael being extremely cheeky. Playing the ball where it lies, trash talking each other and overall being very ungracious winners.
Lying in the double bed with Michaela at 1:00 in the morning. Me reading and her trying to sleep but failing and distracting me so I end up reading the same paragraph over and over. We sprawl ourselves over the bed – me sometimes on her pillow and Michaela lying diagonally.
Our last night. All three girls squeezing into the bedroom. All giggling into the darkness and somehow swapping sides on the bed multiple times.
Day Twenty One
Treasure your moments.
Love Brecon XXxooo