Off-grid and off-line, I was on the maiden voyage having towed the stealth camper to a bushland reserve. Parked up with the canine off-sider reconnoitering the flooded river and misty banks I set up camp with a view.
I had to save phone battery for emergencies as I wasn't driving for days and couldn't recharge.
So, the phone was off. I know it's luddite but I do pine for the days when a phone was attached to a wall and left behind.
After several days of reading and writing, I planned to leave next morning and I wanted to get a photo of this magnificent pair of twined trees before I left. Which meant I had to fire the phone up. So, that's what I was doing, walking along the edge of the muddy torrent with Gabby, waiting for the phone to power up.
I had a message from my writing mentor. She wondered if I was OK because she hadn't heard from me. Looking back, I must have seemed overly calm because she knew something that I didn't. I reminded her I was out in the whoop-whoops but that yes, I was fine.
'You're on the Ngaio's shortlist,' came her next text. 'Didn't you know?'
'No I *%-!&#* didn't' I texted back. Now wandering dangerously close to the swollen Manawatu, the surrounding mist seemingly infiltrating my skull as well.
I doubt I'll ever forget that moment. When my mind was able to refocus, I got my photo.
A totara and a titoki. What an embrace.