The River Valley Extended Family
Have you ever thrown a small stone into a pond of clear water and watched the ripples spread outwards? Just a small stone can send those ripples out to the far reaches of the pond. None of the surface of the pond is unaffected.
From time to time a conversation at River Valley Lodge can develop along the lines of, “I just heard from such and such (New Zealand slang meaning a particular person) today.” They have got two kids now and are moving back to New Zealand.”
The conversation could just as easily start along the lines of “Did you see on Facebook what such and such is up to now?”
No doubt we all have conversations along these lines, however, what makes these River Valley ones a little different is the number of people we are talking about.
Who we are talking about are individuals that worked for a number of seasons at River Valley before moving on to another job or place. From this point, the conversation often flows into how they may have met their life partner at River Valley and what they are doing now.
And then, the conversation can drift into talking about all the other people who met each other at River Valley and have stayed together since.
This is where the conversation really takes off as we can go back decades and recall literally dozens of people meeting their significant other halves at River Valley.
Over the years we have stayed in touch with many of these people, but with even more we have, over time, lost contact. For many, working at River Valley was a special time in their lives, and the friendships, not just romantic relationships, they built, have lasted for years.
An Illustration of This
A couple of weeks ago a series of events occurred that were unplanned, but typical of this. This series of coincidences highlighted to me the current broad geographical spread of people who have been part of the River Valley community and have retained their friendships since.
Our middle daughter, Melissa, was staying with us, having come to collect her daughter, Luca, who had just spent 4 days on the Whanganui River with her grandfather, (me).
Unexpectedly she had got a message from a friend she had worked with at River Valley over ten years before. Ashley had decided to visit New Zealand at short notice. Melissa was able to collect her from the airport and so Ashley also arrived at River Valley.
That Sunday, in a series of unplanned coincidences, other people called in as well. Bronwyn a local girl and previous Lodge cook arrived with her daughter. She now lives with her partner (met at River Valley) in the UK. Marianne with her Mum on holiday in New Zealand. She is Swiss, a physiotherapist, (and witch she proclaims jokingly due to her interest in herbal plants for balms and aids in healing). She offered massage services amongst several other roles during her time here at the Lodge.
All four of these women worked at River Valley around the same time and have kept in touch since.
This series of coincidences made me think about all the people that have worked at River Valley, and some who may have only visited. People who have gained friendships, special people in their lives, memories, and sometimes even come away with a different way of looking at life.
To realise that so many had experiences here that set their lives in different directions is humbling. River Valley has been that stone, causing so many ripples in the pond of life.
Ripples in a pond.
Melissa and Ashley in the River Valley Garden