Oysters on rocks, Karaka Bay, NZ
Pacific oysters, both whole and broken, pale and with jagged edges, cling to tidal rocks.
Like barnacles and limpets, oysters signify tenacity to me; holding firm against the elements, whether submerged or exposed to the sun.
The reward of eating the delicious molluscs comes with hard work in opening them, and risk of being cut in the process.
I have a love/hate relationship with the creatures – I love the taste and will eat them every which way, but have had my feet painfully slashed by their shells on a number of occasions whilst swimming at my favourite local spots.
They are just difficult, I suppose, as their own survival and life is difficult.
Hmm, I can think of some people I know like that….
So, in coronavirus lockdown, we had to drop off some essential groceries to my octogenarian aunt, who lives alone and is not supposed to leave her house.
Happily, it was a gorgeous afternoon, so the delivery took place in her rather marvelous garden.
In the sunshine, pleasantries were exchanged; social distancing was applied.
These flowers caught my eye as we chatted.
Two pretty flowers, and a snake-like Australian orchid of some type getting between them, recreate a very old biblical story where good things go badly wrong …
P.S: To any Australian readers, I am not insinuating anything!
P.P.S: I’m so glad we don’t have any real snakes in New Zealand! They creep me out…
“…and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies say.”
– New Zealand poet Denis Glover, ‘The Magpies’ (1964)
Another take on the aerial roots of mangroves featured in the previous post Breathe.
A mass grouping.
(the blogs and images are beginning to repeat, I know, like the seemingly endless days in lockdown…I feel as stuck as a mangrove in mud…)
Mangrove aerial roots (pneumatophores) protrude from the mud and tidal shallows of the Tamaki.
That’s how you breathe when you live in anaerobic sludge and partly submerged in salty water.
At any rate, the massed roots make for an impressive, if slightly surreal, display.
All together – breathe!
‘The Water Tower Above Glover Park’
Glover Park, in Auckland’s eastern suburbs, was an idyllic scene a couple of days ago in the warm autumn sunshine.
People, dogs, prams, sports balls everywhere, in a natural grassy bowl surrounded by leafy arboreal splendour. Everyone practicing social distancing while trying to be and look friendly. Bliss!
Then there’s this brutalist concrete exemplar on a ridge, watching silently over it all.
I remember it from when I was the same age as the children running around in the park.
Ugly, grimy and slightly sinister in appearance, even bathed in sun.
I, for one, need the foreboding form to complete the scene – you can’t have all that light without a little darkness…
A pukeko (native to New Zealand) forages in a wetland.
The long legs blend into the grass stalks but the blue and black plumage is a dead giveaway…
This is the latest iteration in an ongoing (and originally unintended) series .
It’s a recurring image that appears to me, like a dream, and then demands another projection on this blog’s screen.
I see it when I am feeling out of sorts with life.
That “in between” place; neither/nor; the netherworld.
This time around it feels like the whole coronavirus – worried world is of an uncertain mind.
We are mostly, then, somewhere under the wharf and above the waves…for now.
Stay safe people,hang on to the pilings!
‘Four Handprints In Blue’
‘Fluff, Cut Is Coming’
…you know, I really hate to be the bearer of bad news…
A wrought iron gate cordons off a small and somewhat mysterious flight of stone stairs in the Tower of London.
The sign spells out the obvious.
It’s a classier warning sign than the one I featured in the recent post No Admittance, but amounts to the same thing really.
The bars pictured here are signifiers of more than privacy – they emphatically spell isolation.
The Tower, in bygone times, was home to many prisoners, who I suspect had way more privacy than they would have liked…
‘Private Property. No admittance’, the battered sign on the fence proclaims.
It’s subtle code for:
” Not in my backyard”
” Keep the hell away”
” F**k off ( pretty please)”
We can all hang that sign out from time.
I get it.
The need for self – preservation runs deep.
But as a usual modus operandi, it is a doomed stratagem.
Putting up walls, or even wire mesh perimeter fencing with forbidding signage, will give us privacy but also isolation.
Isolation, self- imposed or otherwise; loneliness – they kill as surely as war and disease.
It pays to remember, before we put out the rusty old ‘no admittance’ sign, that potential trespassers might be bringing unexpected gifts and even total strangers may become firm friends.
You can take this one either of two ways – cocooned or claustrophobic.
I can’t decide, given that I vacillate between the two ”surrounded” feelings in real life.
I’ll wrap it there…
The path to whatever is next in our lives stretches ahead.
The end of the track cannot be seen and there is no certainty as to what lies ahead.
We can be in trepidation of the unknown, but we can also be encouraged in our journey.
For we have already undertaken that hardest part of it.
Fear of leaving the known is usually greater than fear of the unknown.
And we do not arrive at “whatever next” without first stepping the track.
The pathway itself will provide the things we need, the tools, to reach the destination.
The journey, then, becomes as important as wherever we are moving to.
‘Pohutukawa Branches & Sea’
New Zealand ends daylight saving hours this weekend, as the northern part of the country basks in glorious sunshine and the weight of Covid-19 diminishes the glow without totally extinguishing it.
So, the daylight hours “saved” will now be “lost” again!
If daylight itself cannot be preserved it leads me to wonder exactly just what can be saved right now.
I’ll settle for saving my sanity and, in doing so, remind myself that you can’t save everything and everyone, not even yourself sometimes. You can just do the next right thing, whatever it is, for yourself and others, in any given moment and then keep doing so in those that follow…
Meanwhile, I will make the most of the fading warmth and light of autumn. It is still my favourite time of year in my neck of the woods. The picture above was taken on a gentle coastal walk yesterday.
Stay safe, if not saved, people!
” If you ask me what the most grotesque thing about alcoholism was I’d have said, indeed I did so over and over to anyone who asked – and plenty who didn’t – it wasn’t the physical stuff, it wasn’t the humiliating death stuff… it was the sadness. I called it my angst. A suitable august, Germanic word for a basement depression that was fathomless and occasionally erupted in gasping panic. And even when locked away it would seep out and sour every other emotion, like bitters in milk. Alcoholic despair is a thing apart, created by the drink that is a depressant, but also the architect of all the pratfall calamities that fuel it. Alcohol is the only medication the drunk knows and trusts, a perfectly hopeless circle of angst, and it is powered by a self-loathing that is obsessively stoked and fed. And it’s that – the personally awarded, vainly accepted disgust – that makes it so hard to sympathise with drunks. Nothing you can say or do comes close to the wreaths of guilt we lay at our own cenotaph.”
– A.A .Gill, from “Pour Me: A Life.” (highlights mine, as were the lowlights…)