Two years ago my son and his partner were agonising over the purchase of a big acreage including a bluff, a long stretch of river frontage, a bouldery creek, and difficult access. They finally decided to buy, and the refrain of my two days with them on the block was “absolutely no regrets.” They feel the peace descend as soon as they reach the gate. I spend two days there, days without internet, without reading (except a few words at night before I tumble into sleep), without bathing, without driving. We talk a lot; recline in the sun; and gather around spectacular campfires as the days cool.

My beloved daughter-in-law drags two kayaks upstream in freezing water against the current so I can kayak further in still water to one boundary. My relationship with kayaks hasn’t always been a happy one, but this time I paddle confidently albeit incompetently: the splashy silence should not be broken by the banging of paddle on edge. On either side there is bush; boulders extend underwater and require vigilance; the sky is blue and cloudless.

The journey downstream riding the current is another story. Boulders reach out to grab me and swirl me backwards: I forget all the instructions; I bottom out on gravel. But after multiple extrications by K, I get back to the launching point, and out of the kayak, something I barely managed at GrΓ³jec Wielki. No photos of this excursion: with my history of tipping out I didn’t dare risk the camera.

In the afternoon we walk to the other river boundary, a place of sand, boulders and reflections.

In the morning I ramble around, capturing the valley mist; tall trees; old posts; the irremoveable cats’ claw creeper, which I admire till I learn of its murderous capacities; a variety of flora and fungi.

On the second day we walk down to the creek and follow its rocky bed to a junction with another creek, as yet unnamed. I need my sturdy walking stick, my hiking boots and slow pace. The boulders are green with moss and ferns; evil-looking black roots twist among the stones, and the water’s clear. I’m rewarded with a colony of greenhood orchids, and later K spots slightly chewed caladenias. 

At night the fire rages , cooking up a stew of elemental richness.

Let Jenga encapsulate!