It’s going to be a scorcher again. I’ve headed out to the west coast, and am hoping I’ve set out early enough to miss the heat of the day. Come with me, take off your shoes, and let’s walk the coastal track. It begins through grazed land. The grass is already hot and dry, but here’s a bit of shade for us to cool our feet.

All this heat has baked the whau flowers into seed heads that will soon fly away in fluffy puffs.

 We are climbing the hillside now, and already can enjoy a view of the sea.

 We pass more seed heads, this time the cabbage trees whose flowering is over, except for a few plants on the shady side of the hill.

 The path is hot and sometimes stony, but the thing about being bare-foot is that we are in direct contact with the earth. We can feel how dry it is. It’s been weeks since the last rainfall.

 Let’s pause, because it’s hard work climbing the hill in the beating sun. The view of the sea is soothing and we wonder about a swim, but the tide is going out right now and we will have to walk over scorching sand. . . .

 Ah, but look at this, our favourite stretch of the path; the shady tunnel. We’ve done the hard uphill climb and now the path leads gently downwards. Through the soles of our feet we can feel the coolness, and also the softer earth surface.

And look, we can see the next bay already. That’s where we will end up. We will stop under a big pohutukawa tree on the hillside, eat some lunch, drink plenty of water, and cool off in the shade.
Then we will edge down the track, feeling how slippery it is. The earth almost has a patina on it, here on this side, and we have to hold on to flax leaves all the way so that we don’t go for a skid.
There at the bottom is a little shady haven where friends have a small cabin. We will stop and chat, have a cool drink, and hope that the sun has relented a little before our return.
Our feet rest on cool grass. They are thankful.
The camera battery ran out, but our feet don’t care. They have made friends with the earth once more, just as they did throughout childhood, and they are happy.