Encouragement and acknowledgement – gifts one person can give to another. I was the fortunate recipient of such a gift when a fellow ex-Southlander John Paterson gifted me sixteen polished gemstones from my birthplace of Orepuki.
They arrived in the mail, co-incidentally, the day before my birthday.
I highly recommend John’s blog TumbleStoneBlog which features his considerable knowledge and experiences as a seeker and collector of gemstones and the process of collection and polishing, as well as thoughts on place, including social, geographical and geological aspects.
Upon discovering my own personal link to a favourite gemstone site of his (Orepuki’s ‘Gemstone Beach’) John went out of his way to contact me and to follow up this contact by buying my latest poetry book, ‘Born to a Red-Headed Woman’.
John then went even farther and chose sixteen gemstones from Orepuki, to send to me as a gift, extending that kindness even more by linking each stone to lines from one of the poems from my book.
(Go to this TumbleStones post to read a post John wrote about me and my poetry).
Aotearoa paua shell
As well as stones, I also like to collect shells. Most of them I put outside in the garden, however some do make their way indoors.
My oldest son collected these from a beach in Cambodia
I also like to collect beach glass – although this particular clutch was a gift from my daughter in law
Harking back to my birthplace (don’t I always?) this tree is to be found on the roadside that cuts through a bush reserve that my Uncle Bill McKenzie established at the foothills of the Longwood Range (known locally simply as ‘the Longwoods’). These hills, beginning near Riverton, run along the back of Orepuki to end near Otautau.
I realise as I type this post, that my father (himself a collector of stones, as seen in these steps decorated by one of his collections)
… was born in Riverton – where the Longwoods begin – and despite moving away in his early forties to live in Northern Southland, while on holiday his life suddenly ended in Otautau (where the Longwoods end). Sad – maybe even morbid – as this is; for me, it is the stuff of poetry.
Where I write