The moment I said goodbye to Alan Dixson has remained in my memory to this day.
It was in Waikawa, a fishermen’s village in New Zealand. Alan was going back inside, carrying under his arm three logs for the fire.
Our car drove away slowly, and my heart skipped a beat. It took me months to settle my heart and get over the sense of a missed opportunity in my too-short meeting with Alan.
At precisely 5 PM each evening, Alan pours the first shot of homemade whiskey. His dinner slowly cooks on a small wood fireplace. And, Charlie, his dog that is almost as old as Alan in dog years, lies nonchalantly on half of the sofa. Alan drives the pickup truck that is parked outside to the faraway hills where he checks on his herd of chubby sheep. Every morning, he stops to check the mailbox in the driveway. That morning, it was empty.
Before we left New Zealand, I put four photographs and a thank-you note in an envelope and mailed it to Alan Dixon’s home address. If he only knew how meaningful our short meeting had been for me and that only later, I realized that my true journey had started right there.