We head south for our breaks at this stage of our lives, necessitated by having an aged parent in a rest home in Gore. Visits to Queenstown (Robert’s mother’s former home for over sixty years) have now been replaced by visits to Gore. A rough trade, perhaps. Every Sunday (sometimes Saturdays) R. travels down and back – a four hour trip altogether – to see his Mum. Sometimes I accompany him. When I do, I like to check in on the family graves.
The hills beyond remind me of my father whose 100th birthday is next month. He only lived for less than half of that time, leaving memories of an outdoor man. A man on tractor or horse. A farmer. An ex-musterer. Sheep dog trainer. A story teller.
I remember him pointing out the ‘Midday Bite’ as he called it – I’m not sure whether that’s an actual name or not. I can’t locate it on any topo. maps I’ve (admittedly very briefly) looked at. He called it that because, he explained, at noon the sun could be located shining directly over it.
Standing at his grave, I like to look beyond – a wise stance to take when standing at graves – and locate this Midday Bite and then think (unlike the movies, I’m not not one to actually converse with the departed at gravesides) ‘Yep, Dad, the sun is still over the midday bite. Still in his heaven. All’s well.’ Or words to that effect. (See below*)
THE year ‘s at the spring,
And day ‘s at the morn;
Morning ‘s at seven;
The hill-side ‘s dew-pearl’d;
The lark ‘s on the wing;
The snail ‘s on the thorn;
God ‘s in His heaven—
All ‘s right with the world!