All I Ask

My son’s birthday card for his daughter, featuring her big, blue bear that has travelled many miles with her since they left Berlin in August, until finally making it to the far, fair shores of Aotearoa New Zealand in December. To be greeted at the airport gate with her flying missile of a hug, straight into my arms, is something sure to be deeply etched into my memory.

And only two weeks later, the card for his son who is very proud of his mixed heritage of German ancestry and Māori. The first thing he did when we met them at the airport, was to point out that he and I were both wearing a pounamu greenstone pendant.

We have had three pavs in the last two weeks – due to a few back-to-back family celebrations, and of course, with Christmas thrown into the mix as well.

It must be summer – strawberries don’t grow if it’s not. However some days around here it hasn’t felt like it; take today for example with its merciless grey-goose-feather mist and the added drama of thunder rolling around the hills.

Some red hot pokers and crimson angel fishing rods / wand flower, to brighten the eye. A reminder that it is still summer for a while yet.

Poppies too – compliments of our neighbour’s garden.

And some more I photographed when we visited the Andersons Bay cemetery, where my husband’s grandparents are buried.

The day we visited, the weather was hot. We were wearing sunhats and fretting about how much sun screen had been applied. It felt like the sun was shooting sharp beams straight at us – as indeed it was. The UV rays are especially sharper this summer, due to a thinning of the atmosphere caused by the volcanic eruption in Tonga at the beginning of 2022.

Not a headstone belonging to our family, but one to admire and reflect upon with its story of hardship, sadness and the determination that brief lives would not go unrecorded, unseen, forgotten or un-noticed.

The cycle of life – mokopuna using a green, cemetery slope for roly poly.

So far it has been a summer of short excursions out of the house, followed by quick returns to home for food and rest.

End of the day at the inlet, Ōtepoti.

I’m beginning to make farther inroads (slow at this stage) into my next novel, Muttonbird Tree House. Another novel set in Craggan Dhu, that mythical Murihiku Southand town located on Te Waipounamu’s far south coast.

All while trying not to lose too much focus by such delightful distractions as birds visiting the bottle brush tree outside the window, or the grandchildren asking for paper to draw on. Having family living upstairs again, brings its own brand of contentment and inclusion. I couldn’t ask for anything more.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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