Saturday, May 4, 2013

Barefoot through the hinterland

 Come with me; we are going to take off our shoes and walk through the hinterland.
 I always loved that word, from when I first learned it at school. It means 'the land behind the coast', [German hinter: behind, plus land).
I think of it as 'the hidden land'.
The hinterland we are going through today is a wide band that has become increasingly vegetated as the dunes stabilise and a succession of plants takes root. First the dune grasses came in, then lupins and flax, and now karo, pohutukawa and other trees.
 Sometimes our way seems easy, and our bare feet follow other feet through sandy pathways. There's a comfort in knowing that others have found the way.
 And at other times the growth is so dense that the way through is not at all clear. There are false trails, where others have tried to force their way forward. We must beware of these, or we could easily get tangled and lost. Other people's footsteps are not always reliable.
 Let's think through the soles of our feet.
Suddenly a pheasant whirrs out of the lupins like a mini motorbike starting up. It flies off fast, but not before I've glimpsed its fine autumn dress coat.
We will forgo the straight way ahead and skirt around to the left, staying high so we can see a pathway.
 And sure enough, we are rewarded with a clear view, and a way through.
 Not far now. The sight of the sea lures us onward.
 And we are out! - looking back on the line of dunes, whose hinterland is well concealed. The sea is roaring today and the wind is brisk, lashing our faces. But it's not cold, and the freshness is reviving.
And what's this? whizzing along the beach with great speed, making the most of the wind?
—and then disappearing into the misty haze of the distance. Somebody is having fun!
We came through, and found space, freedom and exhilaration.
Thank you for throwing off your shoes and walking through the hinterland with me.

9 comments:

Joemann said...
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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet ... love these photos .. take me back to our youth and times on sand-dunes with long stretches of beach ahead, where the sea came in across the shallow large beach and we'd walked over a golf-course .. we played and slid, and made plaits with the reeds ..

Fun memories .. in a beautiful setting .. as Virginia Wolf's Lighthouse was across the Bay .. and St Ives round the corner ... with a nutwalk home if we wanted to ..

Lovely part of the world - as this looks to you and the little one .. Cheers Hilary

juliet said...

* Hilary, what wonderful memories, in a special place. I'm glad my post brought back such happy times for you.
Thank you.

Hotly Spiced said...

I love the sand dunes on the NZ beaches. They were always a great place to explore and take shelter from the wind. I didn't know they're also called, the hinterland xx

juliet said...

Charlie, glad you could revisit something you love. The dunes are so sheltered and warm.

Friko said...

And thank you for taking me with you. The walk was worth it.

juliet said...

Thank you Friko, glad you could come along.

Penny O'Neill said...

A most pleasant trek through the hinterlands, Juliet, and my first one ever. Thank you for taking me with. I could almost hear the sound of pheasant shooting forward with the wind, and I could easily imagine my toes in the sand. You have made this a most precious day for the wandering of it. Thank you.

juliet said...

*Penny, I'm so glad you could enjoy the walk. Thank you.