Thursday, February 28, 2013

The gift that grew...

When lovely Lucy and The Sweet Small Girl
went to live in a different city,
they brought me a goodbye gift from their garden..
a Lemon Balm plant.

It grows profusely in my little garden, and
whenever I happen to brush past and catch the fresh and lovely scent
those two special people always come into my mind.

Not only do I love the fragrance of the Lemon Balm.
New plants often pop up around the garden
and I pull them out and bring the fresh new leaves into my kitchen
to make fragrant tea. 

It can be simmered for ten minutes for a stronger brew,
 and I love the fresh fragrance that wafts through my house.

But what I most love
is to pop some leaves into a pot,
pour on boiling water,
maybe a little honey,
and leave to steep a while.
(little teapot belongs to daughter-in-law living in London)
Good for digestion and relaxing.

I sit
and sip the sweet refreshing tea,
and think of Lucy and The Sweet Small Girl.
Truly a gift
that keeps on giving.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Beautiful dragonflies seemed so common
when I was a small child.
Ethereal beings of beauty and magic.
In Japan the dragonfly is a symbol of courage and victory, hope and happiness.

A dragonfly landed on my bedroom curtain at sunrise a few mornings ago.
 I precariously stood on my bed to capture the image and
 and while I teetered there betwixt and between,
I heard it on the six o'clock news..
Ralph Hotere
had died .

I felt a sense of loss.
Such a life.
 A toanga,
who has gifted our small country with deeply spiritual art.

Tonight I doodled in my small journal as I watched a film on Maori TV.

 The totara has fallen....

but the legacy of art is forever.

 Rainbow waterfalls, perfect thin red circles on shining black.
The Phoenix Rises.
 I will never forget standing before those tall fire scarred posts,
partly taken back to unharmed wood that shone like gold,
with the bow of boat in the centre .. proud and rising.
Black Phoenix.

Always the work of Hotere is poetry, metaphor, song and dance in paint
and wood, tin and light.

Another time, long ago, in the Auckland Art Gallery,
I stood with friends before his waterfall.
I was bewitched by it.
The colours in those magic lines fell from top to bottom.
I could hear the waterfall sing.
We stood in silence.

" He calls that a waterfall?"
someone said.

 Your art will live on with us forever, Ralph Hotere.

You make me want to take black paint.. some red... some gold,
and  tell the story
of who we are.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

So, where have you been
you may well ask.

is where I have been. 

I walk along streets  I have driven down a hundred times
and discover things I have never noticed before. 

 The half forgotten once upon a time Maori villages
and quiet parks

and paths I've never walked before. 

I've listened to the river  

and the birds 

and rested on quiet jetties.

 And when my legs ache and the sun is hot

like the river I just keep moving on.
Walking is such a  human thing.
When I come upon busy traffic it suddenly all seems absurd.
The rush and noise.

I have grown to love instead the quiet places..  and walking.

I am training for the walk of my life.
5oo miles
in our antipodes..
Buen Camino!

One month to go.
I keep on walking.....
I dream.. and keep on walking. 
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

For Heather..

My friend Heather has died.
So young.
So gifted.
She has gone.
I am still here.

How strange the circle of life.
Our lives so different.
We taught together at Crawshaw.
A gifted teacher, Heather went on to become a psychologist.
Heather grew up with no religion.
I was born into a Catholic family.

Heather died in the loving care of Mercy Hospice
which once was a novitiate where as a young girl I spent happy years
of learning.
Heather enjoyed the irony of that.

While studying to be a psychologist,
Heather rang me once upset because she had to write about her spirituality.
"I have none" she said.

She was one of the most spiritual people I knew.
Her deep love of the earth, the sea, the sky;
writing poetry, dancing.
Heather built her own house
and flew a plane.

Heather chose not to have a funeral service.
That was Heather.
I chose to walk down the river path to the beautiful gardens
and spend time there.
Heather would have liked that.
She loved both the river and the gardens.

How special a time it was my friend.
I sat listening to the water and the birds,
and walked through to beautiful gardens.
I sat and wrote thoughts about Heather..

At the end of the day
I wandered back along the river.
I decided it was the loveliest funeral I'd ever been too.

Thank you Heather.
You always dared to be different.
I will remember you.
I will remember you.
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