In sailing terms, “becalmed” means the ship or boat becomes motionless for lack of wind.
I think that becalmed can also refer to individuals who suddenly find themselves without the energy or impetus for their usual activities due to a series of unfortunate happenings that ‘take the wind out of their sails’.
I thought a trip to see my family would help ease that becalmed feeling. I took some knitting. A pair of socks; two cardigans that needed finishing; yarn for a vest for my niece. Yarn for more socks. More yarn for a scarf or cowl if I ran out of other projects. Just in case. It was for a week after all – and you never want to get caught out!
I finished the socks quickly:
We went for a walk in beautiful New Zealand native forest.
It was especially healing to go into the bush. I could have stayed in there forever. This particular forest is covenanted, which means it is protected for perpetuity. It will never again be harvested for timber, or grazed, or ‘developed’ for housing or commerce. With predators kept in check, it will continue to mature and develop and grow as a haven for New Zealand’s wildlife and as a soothing, uplifting retreat for people.
Yarn companies like Zealana and Supreme are helping the fight to keep forests like this intact through supporting the industry around possum eradication. Whilst I didn’t get any photos of them, this forest echoed with the calls of native birds like the tui and the fantail. Bellbirds and the New Zealand parrot, the kaka, are yet to become common, but I hear they’ve been sighted. Large, heavy kereru (native wood pigeons) hopped around the branches, feasting on berries. Chicken-sized wekas (they look like the kiwi but without the long beak) scurried around the edges of the bush, booming and calling to each other. The booming thing is incredible – they must have a throat organ of some kind that they can swell up and call through – it sounds almost bullfrog-like. And there’s its shrill ascending “weeeeeek” – at night, the forest valley came alive with weka calls. It was heart-warming to hear them as it indicates that their population is slowly rebuilding after decades of near extinction. Little New Zealand owls, the Morepork, added their mournful “mooore pork”. It made me think of what New Zealand must have sounded like when first the Maori and then the European settlers arrived, before the forests started to be cleared and the introduced predators made their mark on New Zealand’s delicate ecosystem.
We went to the beach. Here’s my brother with his baby daughter, wearing the jumper I knitted and gave to him:
I got home last night and looked at the house and decided it needs a jolly good clean. Lawns must be mowed if it ever stops raining, windows should be washed. Floors vacuumed, kitchen cleaned. Cupboards wiped down. The laundry monster wrestled into submission. Spiders made to live outside. The car washed.
Somehow, I am feeling a little more energetic than I was. It was nice to be away.