> jumping into life.

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This is my winter.

This is the winter I've been waiting for, waiting years for. This is the winter of rain, wind, and sea. This is the six-foot tide meeting the thirty-foot swell meeting the runoff from five inches of rain: seaweed on the far side of the road. This is tree-blown darkness, candlelight, and fireside stories. The twinned current of exultation and fear that comes of watching the waves break high over Bird Rock, watching the branches slap the window, watching the storm.

The ocean is not bounded by her shores. This week she leapt easily over them. All these houses are built on sand. She took the sand with her. She breached the lagoon, breached the tidewall, breached the fumbling edges of my heart.

Oh, yes. The sea is still in my heart. I can hear her now from my bedroom window: restless, waiting. There is another storm coming. I am made of sand, of salt. I am made of brine and shark and twisted cypress. This is my winter. This is my storm.

Here, enervated in the humid heat I watch storm clouds build over the eastern range and hope for the weather to break. Reading this helps me trust the storm will come; it reminds me of the coast where I watched a penguin swim in the evening sea at my feet a month ago; it reminds me I'll be back at the coast this weekend. It reminds me of Toft, who created his own storm in Tove Jansson's wonderful Moominvalley in November. It helps me remember wildness is a quality, not just a place. The last five sentences are sublime. Thanks Kat. Marvellous.

Thanks, pete. Where do you see penguins? In Pohangina?

Kat, no, penguins in the Pohangina would be quite something, as it's well inland. But nowhere in Aotearoa/New Zealand's far from the sea, and blue penguins (like the individual I saw) are found along our entire coastline. The other species of penguins are mostly restricted to the coast of the South Island. A few years ago I was lucky to see quite a few hoiho, the endangered, endemic yellow-eyed penguin, along the coast of the Catlins, the South-Eastern corner of the South Island. A wild coast there — nothing between you and Antarctica except icebergs, the huge heaving sea, and the kind of storms legends are made of.

Sounds lovely.

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