Monday, May 21, 2012

The Naki and Back #2

On Saturday night we met up with an old friend we hadn't seen since before we had kids, so more than 30 years. Bryan was one of my flatmates when I first went flatting, and was one of the select 17 guests (including a number of children) at our wedding nearly 40 years ago. (Party next February folks!) Mac has been turning old 8mm home movies into digital format and Bryan was delighted to get copies of him and other friends riding motorbikes around (no longer) empty industrial lots in Hamilton.

  Next morning we headed into the central city for a hot chocolate down by the Len Lye Wind Wand before walking up the street.....
 .........past beautifully resurrected old buildings.
 When I was at school there in the late 60s, everything was run-down and grubby,
 but now it's lovely.
  Next stop was the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, where Bryan works, and we spent an hour and a half there having a personal guided tour, including out back, down in the 'dungeons', were all the behind the scenes work is done. I would have loved to have stayed all day, but we did have to get home.

 Unlike the gorgeously revived New Plymouth clock tower, Stratford had, for some obscure reason, revived its clock-tower in the 1990s in mock-Tudor style. I was not impressed!
 We decided to take a long way home - from New Plymouth to Stratford, and then up the 'Forgotten Highway' to Taumarunui. I'd always assumed (and heard) that it was a hard drive, and I guess it is long and twisty and has lots of ridges, but it's pretty easy driving really - and lovely on a sunny day.

 Not far out of Stratford, we found the first spot where we could see both Taranaki and the central North Island mountains

 However, it is definitely 'back country' and I don't think I'd cope with the isolation of living there.

 Around a corner and suddenly a tunnel. Kind of scary - just earth walls and roof.
 Around another corner and a gaspingly beautiful remnant of autumn.

In Taumarunui it seemed, at first glance, that winter had ousted autumn, with brown dead leaves on the trees,
 but then in behind I caught a glimpse of a maple glowing in the sun,

 and a bit further along, a final splash of green and gold.
This morning I look out at Mt Karioi again, and although she is not as handsome as my first love, my Taranaki, I find the sight of her a joy, and am glad to be home.

The Naki and Back #1

So once upon a long time ago The Husband bought a Rabbit motor scooter. Not sure why. The kids had quite a lot of fun on it. Eventually it died a quiet death with the engine giving up the ghost.

Years later, along came Trade Me, and for a few years The Husband has had a search running, and finally he became the proud owner of two old Rabbit motors. Except they had to be collected - from Inglewood. He seemed to think that we could zip down and pick them up in a day. Which we could have, but it would have been a long day with nothing to show for it but a couple of dirty old engines, so I reminded him that every WOMAD we talk of how we should go to New Plymouth at a different time of the year and see something other than the racecourse and Pukekura Park.

We love WOMAD so much that we immerse ourselves in it - WOMAD 2012 was the first year we left the festival for anything other than essential supplies (bread, milk, whisky) - we went for a walk on the Saturday morning and found the magnificent shoreline walkway and the Len Lye wand. We wanted to return and see the other end, with its bridge.

So after picking up the Rabbit engines and finding a motel, we drove to the northern end of the 10 kilometre walkway.

 We thought the bridge represented a fish, but silly us, it's a wave! Whatever, it's perhaps the loveliest bridge I've seen, and useful too - it also carries sewerage!

  Paratutu and the port.
  Just look at 'my' mountain? Isn't he stunning?
 You can read about how Taranaki came to live by the coast here.
 We were treated to a wonderful areobatics display as we walked along - I had to keep stopping as walking along looking up instead of down is not a good idea when recovering from a torn calf muscle.

I lived in New Plymouth for the last two years of my schooling, boarding at New Plymouth Girls' High School in 1967-68. Every day as I walked the short distance from the boarding hostel to school and back, I would look up at this glorious mountain. He has stayed in my heart ever since.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Matter of Perspective

 Getting up this glorious autumn morning, the sky was clear and a touch of frost kissed the grass in the shade.

 From the dining room I saw glorious liquid amber tree, its top half glowing against the pale blue sky. My whole body responded with an overwhelming sense of joy.  I grabbed the camera - but the first photograph I took did not show what I saw.
 Oh! I had not even seen the grey, collapsed sun umbrella!
 Another photo - Oh! I hadn't noticed the electric fence standard in the foreground, or the water tank on its stand, or the torn, green windbreak.
 And - look at the rough driveway.
I thought about how my mood and attitude colours my life: when I am low I see the flaws, the 'ugly', and fail to see the beauty and goodness in my world. When I am high I see nothing but the good and the wonderful and the joyful. The camera, however, just sees it all without judgement. And having written thus far, and looked at the photographs, I find that actually, I like that first photo best!
Two nights ago, I spent the evening listening to four amazing musicians playing jazz which filled me to overflowing with the sense of a world teaming with possibilities. In the darkened room, I watched a silhouetted triangle formed by the saxophone and the saxophonist's body, and inside that triangle, fingers so elegant and skilful - the bright, spotlighted hand of the bassist who stood behind.

The sight of that tree framed by the umbrella recalls both that music, and that sense of  limitless possibility.

It's all a matter of  perspective.

Coming Home

In the east,
shining white windmills
stand still against the high blue
fading to softest pink,
holding their breath,
for winter southerlies.

In the west,
a child’s black-pencilled seagulls
rise up from their meal
in the remains of the maize field
and fly toward the sun
setting in the luminescent
gold-edged, apricot sunset.

A lopsided
pale silver

ps I love living where I do, and coming home is always a joy - but particularly tonight.