Pictured amongst other New Zealand native trees is a prince among them – the striking nikau.
A stripey trunk, a crown of symmetrical fronds, ropes of berries and a bulb of overlapping leaf bases sitting below the crown.
The old leaf bases will harden and fall to the ground in time. And even then, they are wonderful – as children, we would ride the larger tough, semi-circular shells down slopes like toboggans!
As Aotearoa’s only endemic palm species it is something special.
(The previous post, Electric Glade, starred one of these beauties in a rather modified treatment if you want to see more)
Heal you that is…
Graffiti on a stone wall by the sea in Fife’s East Neuk proclaims the possible healing powers of Christ.
As I have stated here before, I am no theologian, so cannot affirm the truth of the painted statement, or otherwise.
But I do know that the sea has magical healing effects.
Not just in the salt and minerals in the sea that assist with wounds (I once had cause to wash out a bleeding wound after been nastily bitten on the leg by a dog on a beach).
It is in the constant nature and rhythm of the ocean tides , the freshness of the salt air’s tang and the might and power of the waves.
For it has been my comforter as long as I can remember, the magnetic thing that draws me to itself without effort.
No day is worse for gazing upon a marine expanse, no mood so forlorn that it is not uplifted.
There is no logical explanation, so in that I sense am in the same proverbial boat as the Christians!
My UK domiciled Kiwi cousin recently got married at a wedding venue there, sporting this splendidly ornate atrium.
Architecturally, an atrium is designed to give a feeling of space and light.
Cynics might claim that marriage does the exact opposite, but I wish her both those things…
A striking display of college ties of Cambridge University.
And an equally striking display of sophisticated tribalism.
A statement that says “I belong to the group”.
Wearing one of these will mark you out from distance, I suppose.
Apart from the elitism of it all, the interesting thing from my perspective is the perpetual tension between the collective and the individual.
I mean, nothing says “I belong” more than people who are serene in themselves and don’t need a “brand” to hang their hat (or tie!) on.
They are the ones who really know their place in the world.
Sometimes you will have to enter forbidding places and pass through darkness to get to the light.
Not the bowls you eat out of, but lawn bowls, the sport I play (it’s a British Commonwealth thing and generally a summer pastime).
This was earlier in the month, when my fours team , just coincidentally mind, played with blue bowls(two per player in that format).
So pretty I had to take picture!
That was about as pretty and together as it got – our play that day was distinctly average…
(PS: The pair on the left with the bat motif are mine)
A bell from a ship and an idyllic scene of nature are connected in name – Arcadia.
An environmental utopia of bountiful natural splendour and harmony, a concept beloved of poets and philosophers, where the untrammeled natural world was supreme and as close to perfection as we are likely to get. One could supposedly find and attain this mythical place ,unspoiled by civilisation.
Just because poets and philosophers thought and wrote about it doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea!
Ironically, the ship the bell came from, the ‘SS Arcadia” , a passenger ship which visited NZ from Australia, was scrapped in 1979, leaving no doubt a pile of rusted out man made iron. Never mind, there is now a much larger namesake ship plowing the cruise routes of the world.
If we can’t quite reach Arcadia, we will build bigger and brighter things…
Make of this what you will, but in our efforts to tame the environment, the natural world, it’s getting rockier by the meshed minute…
Geometric swirls of a carved gateway to a Maori marae ( meeting place) reimagined in blue, and mirrored.
Not as the carver intended, but how it was in my mind’s eye, on a day where the mood was blue, little was calm in my head and mental waves churned like the sea below the marae.
And, after a little reflection (so to speak), I’m okay with that.
In the interest of balance ,and because I said I would ( see the previous post Two Spanish Flags ),here is the Catalan flag.
Well, two of them to be precise. Perfectly balanced then…
The flags fly in Barcelona as a political statement in an age old pursuit of freedom from Spanish governance and of an independent Catalunya.
Very interesting to observe firsthand (and get caught up in at times) the recent separatist unrest there.
But, regardless of politics, the Catalan flag wins over its national rival in terms of simplicity and sheer drawability.
Both however, are the bold and vibrant designs and symbols of proud peoples.
Continuing with the previous post’s theme, here are two Spanish flags draped from apartments next to where we stayed in Barcelona recently.
This is of course a political statement in a city that is the hotbed of Catalunya’s separatist movement.
I’ll get to the Catalans next.
My main concern however is for Spanish kids – all children have to draw their nations’s flag at some point – the crest on the flag is off-centre and is a piece of rather complicated heraldry.
Good luck sketching that one, el nino…
The ensign of The Royal Akarana Yacht Club furls in the breeze at Auckland’s Okahu Bay on a fine Sunday afternoon.
Simply, ensigns are naval flags.
I do enjoy a good flag, and especially the value they have to groupings of peoples as symbols and signifiers of their commonality.
Elsewhere on this blog I have discussed how symbols boil down to the essence of what is important to someone and lay that out in simple, readily understandable terms to others.
“This is who I am”; “this is what we are”.
This one ticks a few boxes with its triangular, sail-like shape and crown composed of sails and boats.
On the day I took this picture, there was practice for some international regatta, and I saw young Irish and Italian sailors at work . I could first tell where they were from by their flags!
Footnote: Akarana is a Maori transliteration of Auckland, using the phonetics of that language to spell out the English word. There are no “l” or “d” sounds in Maori, so the closest Maori sounds are used. Also, Maori words resolve in vowels.
“Pigeons: They’ve got wings, but they walk a lot.” – Karl Pilkington
Shallow, but true.
As shallow as a sundrenched Spanish plaza littered with pigeons not using their wings much…
” The cure for boredom is curiosity . There is no cure for curiosity.” – Ellen Parr
But you know what curiosity does to cats…
Today’s mystery pic is a view upwards in a chamber in the Scottish National Gallery.
Eight segments in the skylight; eight Grecian-inspired plinths .
Symmetry of numbers.
It always gets me, to show that there is some sense of order in our crazy, supposedly random world.
(The title to this blog is an unashamed pilfering of the name of a 1966 song by psychedelic rock mavens Love, “Seven & Seven Is”. I love Love!)
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
A personal favourite of the photos I took on my recent visit to the cathedral (and I took a shitload, if I can use profanity in proximity to the sacred).
Just one view of a small portion of the Gaudi structure.
So many many fragments to the seamless whole it is mindboggling – true visionary stuff.
(Holy Family is an English translation of Sagrada Familia).
Carter Observatory, Botanic Gardens, Wellington NZ
Astronomical observatories are fascinating vantage points to far flung stars, planets and space matter.
Where the unknown is made known, the distant made near.
There is an element of magic in that, albeit with a telescope instead of a wand.
Well, that’s my observation anyway…
But I will leave the last word to someone who really understood how to make the magic occur, Galileo Galilei :
” I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night “.
A return, if I may, to the branch in the water, the natural divining rod, previously posted in Divining Water
– the divine can be found all around us.
A row of houses close to the water in Pittenweem, Scotland.
People’s homes – and the locals I met in my short time there were as sweet as their abodes.
I felt very much at home in the small town, and even though I have returned to my antipodean home, I think I left I piece of my heart there…