Creative Solitude At Second Beach.

Stop Screaming … I’m Scared Too

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Recently, I found myself traversing a Dunedin street when I came across a sight that both frightened and scared me. While I resisted the urge to scream, I had to admit that I was a little bit scared. As it is, I’m not the only one to feel a tiny bit scared by what can only be described as an invasion. 

A super swarm of political advertising billboards has invaded the country. Some however, I’ve noticed on my daily commute appear in the most random of places. It’s as if they were put up by someone who clearly needed (or wanted) to be somewhere else. Anywhere, but what they were doing! I always feel that these billboards can be put into one of three categories. The first of these categories are billboards that show people I’ve never heard of, the second is people I wish I’d never heard of and the third category is politicians who appear to be after my soul and think they will get it with a terrifying smile. 

Some people just aren’t naturally smiley people. To be fair, I’m sure most politicians are genuinely nice people and I don’t actually have anything against them or their party per se. But, an ill-placed advertising billboard with a lifesize Judith Collins or Winston Peters attempting to smile is just plain terrifying. These alarming things are everywhere! On buses, cars, street signs, billboard signs, lamp posts, street corners, shop windows, the television and in newspapers. If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to scare the crap out of me at 7:00am in morning it’s an ill-placed, lifesize political billboard of David Seymour’s beaming grin jumping out at me. 

The other day, having done my best to ignore, avoid, dodge and evade these political offerings I decided that it was time for some solitude. Then, I remembered American dance choreographer Twyla Tharp. She once wrote about solitude being an unavoidable part of creativity and how being comfortable with solitude strengthens creativity. This is what I needed. To escape this political super swarm a walk was in order. So, without a second to lose I headed out the door and straight for Second Beach.

I love Dunedin’s Second Beach. Along this stretch of beach, years of constant wave movement have created great drifts of raggedly oval stones of all sizes, worn to a polished smoothness. In places, they are nearly impossible to walk on. Your feet sink with each step while at the same time having to navigate piles of driftwood that have washed up. At any one time, you’ll meet anyone and everyone from the young to old, those getting their daily fitness quota, surfers and people just enjoying a tranquil escape. I sat for 15 minutes and took in the sound of the sea. The sound of the waves crashing into the shore creating a seemingly endless musical score of stones clattering on the water’s edge. It really is one of the most glorious places in Dunedin.

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