Toto in September is so good its almost spiritual.  The warmth as you step off the place feels not only happy, but it restores a sense of peace and well-being into every cell of your body.  Well, it has for the last few times I’ve been there.  I don’t go every years, its a real treat, but I do go at least every several years.  The sand is soft.  The fish bring, the people welcoming.  Its become a destination we go as a family.  Always with other family members.  Jane and David.  Justy and Lou.  Mum, Dad and Ann sometimes.  Whoever wants really.  One of the most special times is when we went for Maddies first birthday.  She often gets me to tell her the story.  She was uncharacteristically easy that week.  The place ride was a breeze.  She spent most of it chatting in her pre language burble to the delighted hostesses.  We slept.  We got there, she took to the beach with the energy of a race horse.  Chasing seagulls, picking up shells.  Squealing with delight.  She slept like a trooper, was easy to feed.  I think she liked having the family around her the entire day.  She is a social wee girl that one.  We had a party for us more than her over there and celebrated her first years.  She likes to hear about herself chasing the gulls, flirting with the airline staff, being a darling.  She likes to go to sleep at night imaging herself as a little girl at the beach.  Now that she is older, the beach is still one of her favorite places on earth.  That first family trip I had just finished my residency in Wellington and had sold almost the entire collection of work.  The trip was also a celebration of that.  I’d also been meet with success at a group show in Auckland.  We were feeling very blessed.  That blessing of success has of course continued.  I never take it for granted the way I did back when I first started painting.  My goals of selling 50 paintings for five grand in a year, within five years time became a goal that gave wings to my practice.  It inspired me.  It opened my eyes to many opportunities that without the goal I think I might have passed by.  I was still slightly unsteady on my feet with setting goals.  With allowing my desires to flourish on the winds of universe.  I’d expect, then I’d get downhearted, then I’d pick myself up again.  I’ve leaned to take the ups and the downs with equal measure.  Both offer greatness.  Both contribute equally to the stuff of life.  I await, still in the second half of my life with anticipation the opening up of the wonders in front of me.


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