Our mailbox is pretty far away from our house. Nearly 2km away, in fact. And from here, it’s mostly up hill. Normally we drive to it, usually as part of a trip somewhere else. But this week I ordered flea treatments for the cats. It was still a few days to our next shopping trip, so we decided to walk. It’s a shared driveway, but I own a percentage of the entire length, so we technically never left our own property.

When I was about 13, I once walked the 5km home from from school. It was a trip I normally did on the bus, and suddenly I saw so many things I wasn’t aware of when I was speeding by. Even though I got in trouble for it, I learned how much bigger and more interesting the world got when I slowed down.

I don’t normally drive much faster than 30km/h coming in and out, but there are a few tricky corners. It turns out that once again, I’ve missed seeing some things while I concentrated on the driving.

Like the rather handsome San Pedro cacti growing right beside the driveway. I bought my own one off TradeMe a couple of months ago. Had I known these were there, I might have simply taken a cutting and gone from there. Still, it’s good to know that even in a shady spot, mine will grow nicely here.

Or the mosses, lichens, and self-seeded totara and kānuka growing on the bare soils along the side of the driveway.

A well-hidden pheasant gave us a fright taking off when we came too close, and a baby piglet got a bit separated from mum along the way. The neighbour’s dogs barked at us and I told them they were very scary.

About half-way there I got a bit anxious that our package wouldn’t be there. Despite the tracking saying ‘delivered’, sometimes that only means the rural postie has received it and it won’t actually be in the mailbox until tomorrow. Cue a sigh of relief when I opened the mailbox and found not one, but two packages inside! There was also a bag of coffee I’d won the week before in a Twitter giveaway, which was a very nice surprise.

I came home with a pocket full of seeds. Walking meant I saw the taraire berries on the ground, the open seed pods on the pittosporum, and the ripening berries on the coprosma. Apparently I will always stop for a chance to grow some plants. That’s my annoying habit on walks.

It was a good chance to get up close with my favourite tree(s) too. We can see this from our bedroom window – a totara and a taraire forever embracing. I think of them as best friends, growing and supporting each other for their entire lives. You can see how each tree has found its own space. The lower part of the canopy is the totara, while the canopy of the tairare pokes up overhead. I really love them.

Walking to the mailbox – it turns out – is pretty fun. It was nice to wave at our neighbours and get a bit of exercise. It was nice to pay more attention to the land around us. As I gear up to get my online store re-opened under Level 3 restrictions, I’ve had to order in some packaging, mailing, and extra safety equipment. So there’s probably a couple more walks in the week to come. I’m looking forward to them.