1 – 6 // scenes from a moving train, going to visit my parents
7 // looking back down to a loop of the raurimu spiral. an incredible piece of civil engineering that enables the train to climb 139 metres in a very small space using the natural contours of the terrain & an amazing spiral/horseshoe design [here’s a photo of it from the air]
8 – 10 // scenes from a tiny regional plane, homeward bound
i will find my way back
» find my way back by cody fry
these words could mean so many many things for me right now….
today, it’s the one hour flight home that turned into a five-and-a-half hour journey due to fog.
today, it’s the golden light above the clouds before our tiny plane was diverted to another airport.
today, it’s having lunch with my husband in the city before boarding the ferry to come home.
today, it’s the tuis calling and chasing each other through the trees outside the window where i sit.
today, it’s being home.
i am chasing flies around my parents living room, armed with a lime green coloured swatter thats paddle is shaped like a hand. its more bendy than i am used to and my half-hearted swings lack the force required to do anything but push air in their general direction. lucky day for the flies.
my hair is getting longer… i pass a photo in the hallway of me around nine years old. the younger me has longer hair still and i pause for a moment, taking her in, noting the length and silently vowing to recover her shiny long locks (even though they will frame a much older face).
the grandmother clock in the corner chimes the hour, its quiet ticking making me drowsy. the aches in my body from HIIT, running & spin have me reluctant to take a quick nap on the sofa, fearing i will snooze folded at a weird angle and feel worse for it when i wake. ive been for a drive and scoped out a couple of places nearby where i can do a couple of loops to keep up with my new trail running escapades and plan to head out tomorrow morning whilst my parents are at church. nature is my holy place.
we have been out to the markets, and a local poultry club meeting, we have talked about gardening and making bread and how to darn things without a mushroom. we have flicked through my mothers book of collected recipes, reminiscing over plum sauce and ginger beer.
my mother is knitting baby booties and tiny hats that she gives to the local hospital for the prem babies. she has lost count of how many (hundreds) she’s made and tells me that she is thinking about her mother when she was her age and how she used to knit booties too. i can’t (don’t) knit and i don’t have a daughter, so the line will stop here – on the sofa – in my parents living room.
my bag for the return flight home will be stuffed with air plants, seed pods, cuttings and seedlings. a sure sign i have been visiting my mother.
28 february 2015, great barrier island
1 // nic sure knows how to pick a spot to celebrate his 40 turns around this planet. i am lucky enough to have spent the past 14 of them with him and we have some amazing stories already, with plenty more to come i’m sure.
2 // the six of us start the day off right with some champagne
3 // bbq turkey
4 // and coleslaw
5 // beach walks
6 // and swims
1 // Medlands beach, great barrier island
2 // sun & shadows on the deck of our beach house. Medlands beach, great barrier island
there’s something beautiful and indescribable about the way the tangible feels – the small shiver of delight each time i’m loading a roll of film into a camera, the anticipation of getting it back when it has been developed.
and i can’t logically explain the great expanse that exists for me between film & digital – i just know that they are incomparable. neither better or worse than the other, just…. different.
film is unpredictable, temperamental, open to quirks and strange anomalies – all things i find incredibly appealing. like drawing a prize from a lucky dip bucket and being excited by the prospect of what’s inside. film feels quieter, and less showy; it demands a slower pace (especially here on the island, where they only turn the machine on when they have enough orders – so it can be a week or two before i get the developed rolls back). and even with all the slowing down and consideration before making each image, there’s mistakes, tragedies, frustrations, framing – or focusing – gone horribly wrong, double-ups and accidents.
and there’s also the unexpected surprises… things that turned out way better than i imagined they would be. like gifts from the past, stored up to be opened one by one as i scan each frame. the trivial becomes treasure, the mundane infused with magic. dust and scratches a part of the topography of each artefact.
it is an inexplicable love affair, an expensive and time-consuming pastime, a map with no directions.
fifteen minutes ago the dining table was littered with mail that hadn’t yet made it to the bedroom to be filed; it gave asylum to a jar of kumara (sweet potato) cuttings that desperately needed water; there was a canon battery grip – received in the post, but not yet put away with the rest of my camera gear, along with the dust mask i casually dropped there yesterday after coming inside from the garden; a tap we can’t use in our kitchen – put up for sale yesterday – stayed there after listing, along with a piece removed from our power-board to make room for the wiring that powers the new cabin; and finally a paper bag with a half dozen small apples in it – left over from the weekend, two of which i use to make beth kirby’s apple & rosemary buttermilk quickbread (a current favourite of ours).
the clothes dryer is currently occupying valuable floor space in the bedroom and the washing machine is half-in/half-out of the laundry cupboard leaving the doors gaping open and has us squeezing past it in the hallway. we had an electrician here on saturday and something he did meant that, by the time we got home from our weekend and needed to have showers, the water in the cylinder was cold. he’s coming back to fix it today, and in the meantime it’s been quick, gaspingly cold showers (or visits to a friends place on the island), boiling water in the kettle to do dishes. nothing we can’t handle for a few days of course, but i sure do love a hot shower after a full-on session at the gym or a day of working outside in the heat.
after a summer of trial and error (mostly error), i’m in the process of pulling out the gardens. virtually nothing yielded any fruit except the tomatoes. i’m separating the living from the dead, trying to figure out how to keep the soil moist for the living when our water tank is low, wondering if this is why there was no vegetable garden to speak of when we moved in. there are huge fissures in the soil, big enough to peer into (though i don’t). pull back, rethink, try again with a few winter veg and plan for something else next summer. me being away for so much of this summer certainly hasn’t helped with plant survival and i admit i feel some guilt for their neglect. still, now i have a better idea of what will grow here, so that will serve me well next time i plant.
i’m trying to find a plasterer to come and do our cabin* (all the guys on the island are busy at this time of the year), and i’m still waiting to hear when our windows will arrive. to say this has been a challenging project would be about right, but there’s no point losing my cool about any of it, so i continue to do what i can to keep moving things along and leave the rest.
we started calling our little studio the cabin in the woods but have since re-named it to the coop. i want for it to be finished, so i can paint it and we can move our ‘office’ out of the bedroom and into that space. i want for it to be finished, so we can have guests to stay without apologising for the boards where windows are meant to be. i want for it to be finished, so our bedroom isn’t stacked with boxes and the living room doesn’t feel so full – there’s things that are destined for the cabin that are in a stationary holding pattern in the house and it’s driving me a little nuts every time i look at one of them.
this is all a part of my story today and it’s not very glamourous. sometimes i wonder if choosing this was the right decision. sometimes i wonder if going back to a desk job would be ‘better’. often i wonder if my ‘work’ and my ‘life’ are a suitable offering, whilst never for a moment forgetting that these types of ruminations are a luxury that some people never have.
i remember the run i did yesterday with the trail tribe – 8km of my heart, lungs, legs beating in prayer. i listen to the cicadas and the tui calls outside. i feel the heat of the sun on my back and the sweat trickling down my face. i dig my hands into the arid soil transferring life to safer places.
and i am reminded why i’m here.
* i haven’t posted any photos of the coop anywhere yet. i thought i’d save that until we’re finished.