Quilting the bluff

I’ve just been sending out newsletters which began with:   “We are feeding groups of quilters now… It is also the season that I feel like cuddling up under a quilt in a sofa by the fire.”  The quilters have gone and N.I.D.E.S (North Island Distance Education School)are now enjoying Michael and David’s cooking. I was puttering around the house, keeping the fire going, creating artwork, catching up on books, composing letters, and getting our bank accounts balanced (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) and feeling a little house bound.  I noticed on the students schedule “Hike to the Homewood Bluff”. Now in all the years we have been here (4.5) I have never hiked to the bluff. Whenever it was announced as an activity to other groups, it was described as a short, easy hike that young and old could easily do.  Feeling encouraged by our canoe outing a few days before I volunteered to go along.

It was raining when we set out following three young Homewood staff. I had no idea how to get to the bluff so was delighted to see we were taking some of my familiar walking routes. The pace was a little faster than I was used to though, and soon found myself huffing and puffing along side my fellow, but much younger hikers. I kept reminding myself that this was an easy hike. We turned off my familiar route into a wooded but ascending trail. I breathed in the fresh, damp air and enjoyed the engaging banter around me. The path was strewn with colourful leaves, roots and soft earth. We trudged along in a single file our clothes getting wetter as the rain filtered through the trees.  After about twenty minutes of brisk walking we came to the base of a huge rocky, slippery moss and lichen covered cliff.  I began to wonder if I hadn’t overestimated my readiness to do this. I could feel (or perhaps I imagined it as they were quite a good natured group) some impatience on the part of those following me as I cautiously, climbed, crawled up the steep path set before me.  Rocks and roots made a set of stairs in some places, but other parts were little walls of rock which I nervously crawled up.  Teens were leaping and running around me amidst the cries of our young guides to be careful because it was slippery.

I surged on and finally made it to the top. I could imagine that on a drier, clearer day the view would have been magnificent. To me it was a beautiful site, I could rest! Through the trees and mist, the soft shapes of the islands in Gowlland Harbour looked wonderful. After a time of picture taking and quiet chatter we headed back. I found this a little scarier than coming up. Because of illness and age I had lost a little of my sense of balance. Michael wasn’t there to hold on to as I usually did in our walks together and I didn’t feel that any of my fellow hikers would appreciate it if I did so with them. It’s amazing how when in a daunting situation we cry out to God and He comes to us with peace and strength.  So I made my way home and had to laugh at myself when I started to huff and puff as I climbed the stairs to our home. At dinner that night I felt that I deserved to have a piece of the banana chocolate cake with cream cheese and strawberries on top that David made.  It probably replaced all the calories that I burned on the hike, but it certainly tasted good!

Triumphantly, I can say that it is a short, easy walk with a few challenging places near the end and I’ll gladly do it again!

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