I have been walking the hill where I live for nearly 33 years. It is now a Wellington reserve. I can walk to the beach, I can walk out to a point where seagulls nest in the cliffs below. Birds are coming back; Ru ru calls on still nights and Tui are very busy at the moment eating new spring flowers and nesting. The trees that were battered by the enormous southerly storm this year are now growing new leaves. Some trees were uprooted and had to be cut down. I waited 15 years before I saw a Tui on the hill.
Yesterday, I was lying on my couch watching something on the computer and Ruby got beside me putting her head on my leg, a first. Ruby had been much more neglected and hurt than I realised. She lies on a sheep skin at my feet as I write.
Walking to the point this morning I had this thought. ” I am walking on stolen land ” I live on stolen land. I tried to imagine what this land looked like when it was full of birds and trees. My mind remembered finding the occasional real estate man wandering on the top of the hill, with his eye on the magnificent views.
I have lived here only 33 years. My daughters and now my Grandchildren s placentas have been buried here.
Ruby’s healing is taking time. I learn her story slowly. I saw it in her eyes at first. I feel it in her body which is relaxing a lot more. The hill walks which are now runs for her as she finds more of herself. Running up hillsides under the growing bush. She senses other people from a long distance but looks to me for what do I do now. The vocabulary between us is growing.
The dog trainer I got help with taught me to get her to do what I wanted using food. That does work on the instant. However, I have found Ruby has a knowing, with time we are building a language together. It is slower but feels easier and more certain.