Monday, February 28, 2011

Ngahuru.. Autumn... comes in gently..

The first day of Autumn tomorrow.

I am sure the starlings have changed their song
to welcome the mellow season of Autumn.

I lie silently in my bed early in the morning
and listen to their music
and struggle to find words to describe the lovely sounds.

It is a gentle trilling, cooing and slender notes softly rising
and a floating off at the end.
It is absolutely right for the soft season of Autumn.

I was born on the first day of Autumn
and it's quiet mellowness I love.

Starlings have accompanied me through life it seems.

As a child I remember baby starlings deep down in a hollow fence strainer post.
The parent birds did not seem to mind us children peering in
at the upturned too-large
wide open beaks of squawking, naked babies.

This Autumn song of the starlings
awakens memory
and leaves me in a mellow mood.
The day is mellow too.. a soft fog at dawn.

May the mellowness of Autumn bring
peace and calm and healing
to Canterbury..

Illustration:   John Gould.  Great Birds of Britain. 1862-73

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

As I sit at my computer
this is my view in the early morning.

There are so often beautiful hot-air balloons
floating gently overhead.
Summer is coming to an end
and in a few days time it will officially be Autumn.

Today there are peaceful skies.
I listen to the radio
and hear the stories coming out of Christchurch
and feel an ache as I think of the people there
and their city.
My Gardening magazine arrived yesterday with a supplement for the Ellerslie Garden Show
due to be staged in Christchurch, The Garden City, very soon.
A big marquee was already set up
in the park and was used to shelter the people during those first terrifying days.
The magazine would have been posted out before the quake
and I felt sad to think how quickly life can change.
The Show has been cancelled and ticket money can be re-directed into the EQ Appeal.
But there is also such optimism and heroism.
I love how Catherine's daughter turned the liquefaction 'sands' into a work of art
( see her blog..Still Standing on Her Head).
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There is a real feeling of change in the air.
It is cooler in the night
and here and there a leaf is changing colour.

Autumn will officially be here in a day or two.

In my street it is acorn time
and in her usual crazy magnificence
Mother Oak
is littering the place with thousands of acorns.

I tell her 6 or 10 acorns would be plenty!

The children get so excited when they see them,
and gather them up as they walk along.
I cannot resist them either
and take a few home..

and add them to the walnut shells I've saved.
It seems such a pity not to use them somehow.

I've been cleaning and polishing them ready for an arty project.
They make me think of little Irish currachs the monks sailed in.

I've recently enjoyed listening to the fascinating series by the British Museum / BBC...
The History of the World  - '100 Objects'

and thought I will make or find  '100 Small Objects'
to celebrate
the beautiful world I live in.
 The Shaky Isles..
Aotearoa...New Zealand.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

As the days go by in what has been called New Zealand's darkest days,
and more and more stories are told of bravery and kindness,
of tragedy and joy,
there are so many reasons for gratefulness..

for a government that can put aside politics and focus totally on the people..
for our own  rescue teams and the wonderful teams from Australia and America and around the world who arrived so quickly to help..
for people like the university students who once more picked up spades to help..
for the prayers and messages from friends all around the world..

a tragic time like this reminds us what is important ..

He Tangata!  He Tangata!  He Tangata!
The people.. the people.. the people!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

just another morning?

early morning
the sun is rising

the starlings are softly trilling
and cicadas
like old fashioned typewriters
are tapping out their love letters

 one lone balloon floats in the sky..

all is peaceful
and beautiful

and then I remember..

 and turn on the tv
and wonder

are the birds still singing in

are cicadas still making love music
in Christchurch

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Prayer for Christchurch

o Papatuanuku
Mother Earth

when you stretch and move
you terrify your children

we run in fear
at your shaking

we cry
in pain for we are trapped

 we fear
for our loved ones
who have not come home

when our city crumbles
and is no more
we are terrified of your power
and recognize
our smallness

all we ask

once more
that you
settle into quietness
so we may live in peace and safety
on your
and awesome

The drawing:  Wilhelm Dittmar. 1907  Alex. Turnbull Library. Ref: Pq 527.9931 DIT.1907
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Swimming in the sea..

Oh the memories of a summer holiday at the beach

the shock of cold water on a hot body
then the body cools and the water feels warm..

the weightlessness of floating

the surge of a wave
and the dumping
and the pull of the undertow..
salt water in your hair..
salty taste in your nose and mouth..

after the wave has gone
the champagne bubbles that follow
popping on the skin while you swim
until the next wave comes
unexpected and dumps you again..

and the joy when you catch a wave
and body surf to the beach
and the sand fills your togs
and laughing for joy
you head once more for the deep..

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Whangamata Beach..

a lone fisherman
beneath the moon

a solitary walker
on mirror sand

an ocean dreamer
leans and dreams

and a quiet bird watcher
sits patiently..

there is something about the ocean
that draws us to
and quiet
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How do the waves know when to stop?

How do they know where to deposit the day's tidal treasure
of tumbled skeins of seaweed
and bright green mangrove seeds,
of precious empty shells
and discarded backs of crabs...
and leaving them at the appointed place,
retreat again,
the ebbing tide.

Early one morning I walked along the high tidal line
of Whangamata beach
and amongst the drying seaweed,
found three dead
little blue penguins.

Like the baby Maui of old,
had wrapped them in seaweed
and delivered them to the sandy shore
this old woman
could silently grieve their dying

and feel a sadness
that unlike tiny Maui,
I could not hang them
over the warmth of a smoky whare fire
and bring them back to life.

Though I wondered,
the sea could not tell  me
what catastrophe had caused their deaths.
The sea is like that.
Full of mystery.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beach thoughts..

there is a timelessness
at the ocean's edge

the relentless ebb and flow of tide

a restlessness
of constant movement

of clinging on
and letting go..

and the ancient sands
soft on my feet
soothe and comfort me

sifting through my fingers
the sand becomes a sweet prayer
of gratefulness
and memory
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Friday, February 18, 2011

A Holiday at the Beach..

I've been away.
At the beach

At The Bach
at The Beach


End of Summer

Swimming everyday..
and yes
one day
white butterflies truly
flew over the breakers while I swam

delicate fluttery butterflies...
what were they doing over the ocean!

In February, the summer holidays are over,
children are back in school.
At Whangamata the summer crowds have gone
and the locals venture out again.
Everyone is smiley and friendly.

I have to say
there were plenty of Dangerous Old Women
on the sands and in the water..
(Can you tell
I listened to Clarissa Pinkola Estes
'The Dangerous Old Woman' tapes while away).
Men too of course..
and dogs.
Lots of dogs and their human friends.

There is nothing so joyful
as a dog let loose on a beach.
Sheer crazy idiotic joyfulness,
chasing waves or sticks or balls,
and checking out other doggy bottoms!
I've talked about the philosophy of chooks..
I could add a philosophy of dogs.
Perfect life.
Walks along the sand, in the hot sun
or by the light of a full moon;
sitting watching the constancy of waves
and the rising and setting of the sun;
the endless lullaby drum and hum of the breakers...
and dear friends
who are truly
Dangerous Old Women
of the loveliest kind.

A truly wonderful end of summer holiday!
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

I am turning off the computer for a few days..
I'll tell you all about it when next I'm here..
it's all good.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

The rose is named
Hayley Westenra..
so I found a song for you, sung by Hayley
a sweet kiwi singer..
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fiordland.. Postcards to myself.

Al Brown's TV programme  'Coasters' has me reminiscing about the trip
to Fiordland,
Robert and I took in 2009.

I drew quick sketches and posted them home to myself..

 "You're doing well writing postcards.  Who are you sending them to?"
asked Bob.  You should have seen the look on his face.
He thought I'd truly lost the plot sending them to myself!

but they are a lovely memory.

Have you ever sent home postcards to yourself?
I can thank cousin Raewyn for the idea.

I just googled 'Postcards to Myself' .. and I'm not alone
only about 3 million others ..
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Some Fiordland photos.  
Lower westcoast of the South Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand is such an amazing place.. small islands with a
little bit of everything.  Mitre Peak at Milford Sounds, and
Doubtful Sounds ( both are fiords actually) so  awesome.
Deep water and rain forests, mountains and waterfalls,
penguins and seals and dolphins.

The loveliest moment was when the boat's engines were turned off
in Doubtful Sound and we sat in the deep silence of a sacred place.

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