It seems to me that we all spend a lot of our lives looking for our place; the place we belong, the place we feel comfortable. Often that place is illusory, ephemeral – it is a state of mind rather than a physical locale.
But sometimes it is a place. It might be the forest-clad side of a precipitous mountain – it might be the wind-swept reach of a long, sandy beach – it could be the rocky rills of a mountain stream. Or it could be all those things – the long stretch of a rumbling river as it moves from youthful exuberance in gorge-enclosed containment, through expansive valley to a reunion with the sea at a south-facing beach.
Or it could be something a lot simpler than that.
This weekend we went north to Rotorua, for the second anniversary of my daughter Lavinia’s death. We went to spend time with her mother and her partner, and to remind ourselves that her life continues in our lives. It went very well – it was heartening to see how well they are both doing.
And I found my place!
Thursday, May 01, 2008
This Saturday I had the fun of sharing my mountain with an American artist friend Kyle Browne. Kyle spent some time at the New Pacific Studio at Kaiparoro last year, and I helped her with some research into the area for a piece she was working on.
It was a fabulous hand-made book, illustrated with some wonderful imagery from her time in the quiet of the retreat, as well as a wonderful storyline about a journey along a dusty road alongside a mountain Stream, the Makakahi.
Kyle returned to Gloucester, Massachusetts, but returned this year to do another retreat, this time at Karamea. We have kept in touch over the past year, and I was happy to meet up with her again when she spent a few days at Kaiparoro. She was there for the ANZAC day ceremony, and the following day we climbed up to Powell Hut.
We had a great day, looking out for fungi and plants, and steadily climbing up the hill.
It is fantastic to see the mountain through someone else’s eyes - especially an artist. She even found a hollowed out tree to hide in on the way down!
The day turned out to be a bit hectic, as I had to race her back to Kaiparoro, then speed back to Masterton to cook tea, then Jill and I went to the opening night of a play our son Owen is in. Hectic but rewarding.