Today I met a friend for coffee. We met at a coffee shop at St Clair beach where because of a stormy southerly wind, the waves were smashing up against the sea wall. I'd say it was a sign that winter is on its way, except I've seen conditions like this in the middle of summer here in this delightful southern city. We have weather here, not climate.
Under the waves of the ocean, the deeper you go the darker it gets. A world without light where strange creatures move. The creatures that belong there move freely, comfortable in their skin. It is the only world they know.
D and I talked of different cultures and how everyone moves in their own world largely unaware of other societies and customs. We are like underwater creatures, ignorant of other worlds above and around us. Until we surface, re-adjust our breathing and take in our own ignorance.
D recently spent three weeks in the slums of Cambodia and experienced what it is like to live with nothing. It has been a life-changing experience. But the biggest culture shock she said is to arrive back in affluent New Zealand, her eyes opened, and realise how much we waste, how much we take for granted and how much we moan about trivial things. And mostly, how ignorant we are of the world outside our own framework.
On my walks recently I've noticed a lot of people are building high front fences in front of their houses. I guess it's for privacy and safety, but I feel sad at losing the friendly sight of yet another front lawn and garden.
I've been reading a bit of science fiction lately. It's a genre where not only the future, but other universes are explored, where as a reader I am exposed to strange and weird customs and beings. Where the human beings of the future are unrecognisable, so different are they to the ones around me now. As I read, I am all the time comparing what I know with my own ignorance.
We each move in our own darkened world, believing it to be the only world. What strange underwater creatures we are.