We Are The Ones Who Stayed Behind

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Highway view, near Parry, GA. April 2017.

“We are the ones who stayed  behind, for all those good, bad and ugly reasons: because of caution, for conformity and obligation but mostly I suspect because of habit and fear. We didn’t take the risky road.”

A.A.Gill ,excerpt from ‘The Golden Door’.

Gill was describing those people who did not migrate from the Old World, Europe, to the new one, America but he could equally be describing all who have stayed where they were in a situation, place or relationship because they felt bound to it, refusing to take the leap into the unknown new. It speaks to me anyway…

Butterfly Piano Man

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I visited the High Musuem of Art in Atlanta in 2017 while on vacation.The museum is full of stunning  art but this gentleman at the community piano outside  gave me my lasting  memory of the place. Playing skillfully, only for himself and before he was due to work , the simple,elegant  folk/classical melodies  drew me in .I listened for a while and chatted briefly with the guy,thanking him for sharing his talent.I love the idea of the community piano that anyone can come and play on(saw another  in Atlanta and then one back home in NZ) – music and art should be egalitarian and accessible but so often get commodified or placed on a pedestal,and then their essence is often diluted or lost altogther.That moment is an inpiration to this blog – I do it for myself first and foremost ,but am happy if my melodies are overheard and appreciated….

Confusion Fog (Song By Meat Puppets)

I need a soundtrack to the last post ‘Confusion’ and none better than this juicy  example  of Meat Puppets’ sun-baked country/psychedelia from 1987’s ‘Mirage’. As the Kirkwood boys sing:

“Blue wind drift on
Blow through till the dust is gone
Gone, confusion fog”

There is that hint in the way the chorus  morphs and rises out of the chaotic rockabilly verses ,of fog lifting , being blown away….that also ties in somewhat with the thoughts expressed in my other recent post ‘Between The Lines’ in that sense…or maybe I’m just confused….

In Transition


Trees silhouetted in the pre-dawn light over my back fence. That time of day is special – night has faded but the sun is yet to rise, all things are in transition.

I have recently reflected a good deal about being in transition, as life events in the past year or two have placed me there, whether I like it or not. And you don’t have to like it, you just have to recognise when it is that time and place – and that it is an actual and important time and place , not a gap nor a void – make best use of this fallow period and be open to the possibility of some new things to come, albeit they have not arrived yet and you have no freaking clue what they might look like if and when they do.

This blog is littered with other images and thoughts about this phenomenon – refer the ‘Under The Wharf, Above The Waves’ series of posts or ‘Between The Lines’ ,just published, for instance. Others have probably described it much better. One who has delved deeply into the matter is William Bridges in his book ‘The Way Of Transition’, which has been both comfort and inspiration to me.

He says: ” All we know is that periodically , some situation or event deflects us from the  path we thought we were on and , in so doing ends the life chapter we were in. In order to continue   our   journey ,we are  forced to let go of the way we got that far. Having let go, we find ourselves in the wilderness for a time, and not until we have lived out that time can we come back around to a new beginning “.

Gateway To The Meeting House

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The gateway to the meeting house ( or wharenui, literally “big house”) at Orakei Marae, Auckland, NZ with its ornate carvings and traditional spiral motifs. Close ups of two of the carved figures are featured in the previous post  I am lucky enough to work at this beautiful and powerful  place, delivering weekly community legal clinics in rooms behind this structure (in a considerably less ornate building I have to say).Before or afterwards, I have taken many shots of this turangawaewae (standing place) of  the Ngati Whatua iwi(tribe).Again, symbols and stories abound…

Symbols And Stories


Another stained glass roof panel from the entrance atrium of the Auckland War   Memorial Museum  – a quartered shield tells a story. Quite what the symbols mean, I’m not certain; a red lion atop a castle tower, a tropical palm tree, a plant or vine, and a sailing ship on a voyage to a new land of mountains and hills. The story of  a person or people spelt out in bold abstract signifiers and ours to ponder.