A message home

Out of Office

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Hi Dad,

It’s been a while. I’m sorry about that. You know how it is, life just seems to happen...

I’m in New Zealand, I’ve finally made it to those mountains, thought it would never happen right. This morning I jumped in the lake, I think I found the same pier you showed me in that photograph of you and Uncle Stuart. It’s funny I think I am about the same age you were in the picture. You didn’t mention how bloody cold the water was… jeepers it was fresh but as I left the water I thought, I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.

It’s taken me 10 years, but I have finally learned how to use my “out of office” reply. I wish I’d done it sooner. I wish you could be here with me.

You were right about this place, I’ve never felt so small and so in awe. I know you will appreciate this… I feel like I want to put a wide lens on my eyes to take in as much as possible.

This morning I woke up to the sound of birds in the trees and it reminded me of our camping trips when I was a boy. That sound, it’s like nature's lullaby. The air even smells the same, fresh and sweet. Look at me, getting all emotional, it’s this place Dad, I’m recalling so many misplaced memories. Things are beginning to make sense again, I don’t know how to explain it.

I am experiencing all of my senses differently here, it’s as if they are all coming back online. The chef here at the lodge took me into the garden yesterday and we picked giant red tomatoes from the vine that he was using for the evening's menu. I recalled that rich earthy smell. He bit into one like it was an apple, and laughed a little as he did it as if he was experiencing pure joy, so I did the same… I’m not sure I have ever tasted a tomato like that. It felt like I was being mischievous for some reason… it was some amazing...

The staff here organised a local guide to take me out fly fishing today, you should have seen where this man took me it was like a scene from a movie, you would have been absolutely blown away, I’ll bring you a photograph for your room. We caught a few trout - it was almost too easy. The guide Brian was your type of guy, he pulled out a flask of whisky and two glasses whilst still in the river. I had a drink for you.

I’ve just got back to my villa, they had the fire lit on the deck before I arrived. I’m sitting back with a wine looking out to the most incredible view of the lake and the mountains. I have this strange and unfamiliar feeling of peace. I hope it never leaves me.

I wish you were here Dad. I’ve felt like I’ve been living this trip for the both of us. Thank you for sharing all your stories with me over the years. I’ve remembered them all since I’ve been here. You lived a big life dad, and I want to do the same, I’m going to do the same.

I’m looking forward to a drink with you when I get back, it’s long overdue.

This is what it feels like to really be alive…isn’t it.

Your Son.