Yeah sorry about this….I have been in a really bad place for a few weeks now so I am trying to think back and dig up some things from the past that hopefully will bring me some peace.
Why ‘Life in the swamp’? Well I grew up in New Zealand, in the district called Waikato. Anyone who knows the area will already be nodding knowingly. It rains a lot there, that is, it rains and rains and rains, the local Waikato beer was ‘affectionately’ called ‘swamp water’ by the locals. About fifteen years ago I took my family to NZ, we started our tour in the south and slowly went north. At one point, due to a mountain range getting in our way, we had to drive miles north to go through a pass and then head south again on the other side of the mountains. This journey took us into and then back out of the Waikato. It was a beautiful sunny day….and then we entered the Waikato and the the rain started and continued until we left again, at which time we again had sunny skies. Well I think you have the picture!
To look back on life at that time, one has to wonder how something so idealic could have been overshadowed by sadness. We lived on a small farm where we raised pigs, ducks, and kept bees for honey. We had fruit trees of every description and a huge vegetable garden. The photo above in the Blog heading is the view I woke up to every day. And green, everything was such a beautiful green – my favourite colour, if there is a green option I will always take it. I was the youngest of eight (my mother was from a family of fourteen), as long as I can remember the older five brothers and sisters had already left the farm to live in Auckland, so my parents were always ‘oldish’, but that didn’t stop them from being adventurous. Every opportunity, we would be fishing somewhere, trout fishing was their/our favorite but we also did dragnet fishing for flounder and longline fishing for snapper and shark. And if it wasn’t fishing it would often be long drives (not that any drive can be that long in NZ). Most of the kids I went to school with had never been further away than the local town, by the time I was ten I had seen most of NZ.
School was HELL, yeah there had to be a down side didn’t there! My parents being ‘oldish’, were really from another generation and sometimes quite oblivious to our plight. Hence while all the boys at school had long hair (it was the sixties), we had a standard Amercan military issue haircut (and we weren’t even in America), short back and sides, or more appropriately described as ‘no back and sides’. For shoes….I guess at this point I should mention that we were poor, really poor, so my parents had to economize in any way possible…well our shoes were girls shoes, now technically they would now be called ‘unisex’ but in the sixties in a farming community where all the boys were big and tough (the three guys who made up the front row of our schools rugby scrum, had a combined weight of 25 stone – over 158 kgs), and they didn’t wear shoes to school, they were too tough for that, these were girls shoes. Yeah it wasn’t pleasant and there was no such thing as bullying, if you complained you were treated like you deserved what you got.
For me, this was the beginning of my depression and anxiety, those dreaded nights where you wish you would just die in your sleep. I would retreat to the swamp at the back of our property. There were willow trees and a creek, and best of all…peace!
Well enough for now…more later