Yep, my New Years present was waiting for me after a run.
The day had started well. After several days of heavy rain, the skies had cleared and it was promising to be a beautiful day. Peter and I got up early and packed ourselves and the dog into the van for the drive up to the hills.
We parked in the main car park. It was still early, but already there were several cars there. We knew later it would be heaving with families picnicking, and kids playing on the playground. Its a popular spot for mountain bikers, as well as runners and walkers, and the car opposite us sported the tell-tale bike rack on the back.
We set off slowly, and soon warmed up and began to enjoy the run. It was not fast. We did something around 8 miles, with over 2300 feet of ascent (and decent!) and it took us around 2 and a half hours. That including walking some of the steep bits, stopping for drinks, and several stops to take in the magnificent views.
When we got back to the van, however, we made the unpleasant discovery that the side window had been forced and the van broken into.
The van is a Toyota Hiace that has been converted into a camper van. It has a standard layout and they knew just where to look. They reached in, pushed the swabs aside, and opened the storage box. They took the rucksack they found in there.
I assume they thought we were tourists and were after our electronics, that we would have carefully hidden from view before leaving the van.
What they got was my change of clothing for after the run. To be precise, it consisted of very little more than an ancient pair of undies, sans elastic, an old bra, an elderly t-shirt and a tatty pair of tracksuit trousers. Because I am normally wet and sweaty after a run, I keep clothing that doesn’t matter to drive home in. I have a shower and change when I get there.
So how do I feel about this? At first I got the giggles, just thinking of the poor souls sitting down to eagerly open the bag and see what they got! Then I thought about the risk they had taken to just steal some rather old and worn out clothing.
Then I thought about it a bit more. What if we had been tourists? That bag could have contained tickets and passports, quite apart from the usual iPods, iPads and other i-things. How do I feel about this? How do I feel about someone just helping themselves to my stuff?
Thankfully I had just been reading a great book “Who Ordered this Truckload of Dung” by Ajahn Brahm. Ajahn Brahm is a Buddhist from Perth in Australia. I often listen to his talks (all available for free on Youtube) when I am working. He teaches lack of attachment to stuff. Yes, it’s nice to have it and use it, but it is never really ‘ours’. It all belongs to the universe, so if it goes, well….it’s gone. It was fun to have the use of it in the meantime.
I’m not sure I am there yet though. As it happens they didn’t get much, but what if they had? What if they had taken my van itself? I love that van, it is my symbol of freedom. I can go anywhere, anytime. I just have to get into my van and go. Yet it is not really mine. It belongs to the universe, and I just have the use of it at the moment.
I am working on it though. This lack of attachment to things makes life so much easier to live. If we are not attached to it we don’t have to keep chasing after it all the time! We don’t have to spend money on it, and then we don’t have to spend so much of our lives earning the wretched stuff. We can slow down! (See! I got Slow Living into this post)
I understand what he means though. My husbands grandparents had their house broken into, and after that they would never both leave the house together. One of them always remained at home to prevent a reoccurrence. They gave away their freedom in order to protect their stuff.
So may the thieves enjoy their haul. And whilst I still have my van I shall enjoy it too. I shall still drive to the hills to go running.
And I shall leave you with a picture of my van. Its one of a kind. If you happen to be on the South Island of New Zealand, give us a wave…and keep an eye out for people reaching in through the windows…….