As well as brilliant, amazing and pretty much okay, life is also made up of unpredictability, alterations, trouble and disasters. By its very nature, life is in a permanent state of flux. It is ever-evolving, changing, morphing, moving, re-shaping, wavering, charging, acting up, adjusting, readjusting, impacting … ever moving between levels.

I continue to work from the outside in as a way of processing. Nature is a welcome companion on this journey. Accompanying me – trees, plants, the sea and the particular patch of sky that arches above my local patch.

The inlet with the tide surging in under the over bridge from the harbour …

Our PM told us yesterday that our country Aotearoa / New Zealand is still in a state of emergency and we will be staying in Level Four until Tuesday morning. Even then, when we move to Level Three – which will last for two weeks – there are more restrictions than freedoms. Robert and I will be remaining in our bubble, in our cell, until Level Four is reached. But, as has been my mantra this past month: It is not the end of the world.

Anyway, isn’t time just a dumb old measure – our planet’s silent metronome – a diurnal or circadian rhythm set by some largely mysterious process? It can go slow. It can go fast. It’s all in perception. A year can be as short as a stub or as long as a vaulting pole. Depends on how you’re positioned to perceive. For me, this past month of existing in a Covid. 19-enforced, stay-at-home status, has gone super fast.

I imagine my personal axis – the line about which my state of being rotates – to be on a permanent lean. My life (any life, surely?) is prone to getting the wobbles. It’s called: Not knowing what’s around the corner. I may make plans for the future (which admittedly usually come to fruition) but fluctuations and variables are forever buzzing away like bumble bees in bumper cars. I accept this. Life, death, calm, turmoil, growth, attrition …

Dunedin Botanical Garden’s maze … a photo taken some time ago. I look forward to being able to visit here again (in June?)

The latest curve ball thrown at us, is the current pandemic. It had been predicted by microbiologists for a while. It was only days before we knew there was even a pandemic brewing, that someone said to me, more or less verbatim: ‘Oh, darling, forget worrying about climate change, the planet has a way of largely looking after itself. No. If you want to worry about something, worry about the prospect of a pandemic and what that’s going to do to humanity.’ (I didn’t actually want to worry about anything.)

Ragwort …

On one of our walks around the inlet, Robert and I saw a black backed gull* attack one small red-billed gull, dive bombing it, landing on its back and viciously pecking at it. The small gull survived, but by means of throwing its weight around, the larger gull had successfully created the feeding space that it decided it was entitled to. All of the smaller gulls (numbering about one hundred) immediately moved father away, passively floating around the lone black-back in a decidedly, ‘Okay, okay, you made your point, moron,’ kind of way. And there the black-back sat in its empty circle, a metre apart from all the red-bills who surrounded it. The red-billed gulls could have simply massed together and drowned it, or pecked it to death. I’m sure conclusions, parallels, metaphors and morals could be taken from that incident. We both felt a mixture of amusement and horror and my opinion of black-backed gulls as bullies and gangsters, was even farther substantiated.

  • This incident happened only a few hours after a comment I made on a Facebook post about black backed gulls being the mafia of the gull world. I’ve rarely had such a vivid and timely confirmation of my humble opinion.
Shag or cormorant …

The autumn weather brings still, mild days with less pesky prevailing nor’easters. Some days, I can hear the Town Hall clock’s Westminster chimes floating across the harbour. In the still, clear (frosty) air at night, the ghostly, trundling of goods trains can sound as if the railway line runs along our street, rather than five kilometres away.

On another walk, the inlet was as smooth as a lake. Whenever a shag / cormorant took off in characteristic, cumbersome fashion, we could hear a sound like someone clapping as the tips of its wings hit the water’s surface before finally lifting off. The watery applause rang in the air like the sound of time, of a season’s arrival, of a moment before its final disappearance.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

One thought on “Flux

  1. “forever buzzing away like bumble bees in bumper cars” – love your post but honestly this on its own would’ve made it worth my while 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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