I was surprised to find myself quite affected and a little overwhelmed bemused by the bright lights, the noise, the crowds, the advertising, the hustle and the bustle.
One thing I hadn't seen before was a brightly lit sign in the carpark that 'spoke' to me about the movie it was promoting. It obviously had a movement sensor built in to catch people as they walked into the centre. Just stop and think about that for a moment. The resources, energy, ingenuity... not to educate or inform but to sell.
Northland used to be my local shopping centre. I usually went there a couple (or more) times a week. Often these visits were just for something to do, to have a coffee, a browse and of course I usually ended up buying something(s) I 'needed'. On Friday, I didn't buy anything except what I went there specifically for...no signs, displays, spruikers, colours, aromas or friendly salespersons held any allure for me. I didn't just rush through either, I window shopped.
Northland is adjacent to a large public housing estate with many disadvantaged residents living on, or below, the poverty line. I found myself looking at Northland with quite different eyes and it was sobering.
Then on Saturday we packed a picnic and drove a very few kilometres into the hills behind the town. It was magic and satisfying and calming and REAL - in ways that the consumer express train cannot match. Well not for this little black duck anymore.
My tree change has already changed me.