The Road Ahead

Some of us think how new our country is in the scheme of things universal, planetary and holistically. We think about how much we still have to learn. We think about how beautiful our country is and how privileged we are to live here.

This fern growing outside our kitchen window catches the late afternoon light

As if to take me at my word after my last post, it just kept raining! However, lucky for us in Otepoti, we escaped the flooding that affected our neighbouring province, Murihiku / Southland, where the Mataura River burst its banks, forcing whole towns (notably Mataura and Wyndham) and parts of Gore to be evacuated.

Morton Mains, Murihiku / Southland, looking towards the Hokonui hills

My two nieces from Christchurch travelled down through the rain for the Elton John concert in the Dunedin stadium. They thoroughly enjoyed the maestro of pop, but arrived back cold. While they were out I baby sat my six month-old great-niece, who was a dream to look after, falling asleep to Anika Moa’s ‘Songs for Bubbas’. (A cd I highly recommended.)

Tree trunks, Gore – near to where my late Aunty Lorna lived

Gore is the town where my family moved to after my father died. Because of this fact, for me, it can still provide a sense of being somewhat of a rough-and-ready haven.

Rhododendron tree trunks, Bannerman Park, Gore

However, Gore was no haven yesterday when flood waters threatened to encroach on the lower lying parts. Although I understand the worst is now over and the parts of Southland affected, can now start to recover.

Ryan Road, Orepuki

We spoke to our son and family tonight, receiving news about the beginning of the new school year ahead. Beginnings. Like new, green grass. The summer holiday break has refreshed everyone. Noses are keenly pressed against the glass. Plans are being discussed. Everything in the garden is lovely.

And Aotearoa is celebrating its national day. At the centre of the celebration, at the Waitangi marae, the celebration can be a little gnarly. That has become its nature, for in that place where the Treaty between colonisers and Maori was signed, Tangata Whenua and Pakeha join together to face truths and realities. It is where promises made and broken are discussed and addressed.

In other parts of our country, we tend to keep it low key. Some of us garden or go for a walk or go to the beach or to a river or shop or read or work or do nothing different from other days, or watch Netflix. But at the back of our minds, surely we all remember and realise that it is a day to celebrate our country. And we think about it in our own way – maybe a lot or maybe just a little. Some of us think how new our country is in the scheme of things universal, planetary and holistically. We think about how much we still have to learn. We think about how beautiful our country is and how privileged we are to live here.

Looking towards Foveaux Strait, Murihiku / Southland.

I look forward to my fourth poetry book coming out this year with The Cuba Press. The manuscript for my novel, ‘Craggan Dhu: Time Will Tell’, is also packed up ready to be sent to a publisher. A second novel is beginning to take shape in my imagination. And my filing cabinet full of family tree information, is still there, waiting to be used as a resource for even more writing …

Looking towards the Longwoods, Orepuki, Murihiku / Southland

At Easter we are planning to have a holiday in the North Island – almost like planning an overseas trip. But not. However, we are also planning another overseas trip at the end of this year.

Already I know that this year isn’t going to be large enough to contain all I want to do, or write about doing, or to write about what’s been done, imagined or otherwise. It’s a good thing a year is like part of a road and simply merges into the next year and the one after that. One day at a time. One step at a time.

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