"We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world." -Jack Gilbert
Flying into Christchurch to cloudy and windy conditions, I made the choice to head inland in hopes of a great sunrise at Arthur's Pass NP. I left around 3:30am and made the drive to inland South Island quickly (it was nice to have empty roads for some more left-side driving practice! My first choice location, Turkey Flats, looked to be clouded in once light started opening things up before me so I headed up the road to Bealey Chasm and beyond. The mix of expected (alpine streams and climate) and unexpected (rainforest/jungle-like flora and completely foreign bird sounds) was nice and the quick but invigorating hike in relative solitude was even nicer.
The trip back in early and mid-morning light provided some great cloud chasing across the river valley plains. Such an incredible land packed so densely with diversity of landscape. I was forty minutes on the road before I was back in a land with perfectly-squared and hedged pastures full of sheep, on straight as an arrow county roads not any different than Indiana's.
I feel so blessed and glad at the start of this new year. I'm grateful for friendships deepened and new ones begun, for the yield of hard work, and for upcoming challenges. My friend Jake shared Jack Gilbert's poetry with me a few months ago and it's been a timely read and a reminder to delight, give thanks, and enjoy.