Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Background of Sky and Rain

The birds are happy. Every morning the little moss-green wax-eyes appear, peep-peep-peep-ing for their sugar-water treat.
In our new abode, a bird table was easy to achieve by simply placing a heavy chopping board in the middle of an obliging tree with an accommodating spread of flat branches.

Puffed-up feathers; a sure sign of winter.

This old kettle (that once belonged to Robert's great-aunt Phyllis) has a spout that looks remarkably like a mouth mid-sentence; perhaps 'spouting' some witticism.
Maybe it's the past talking to the present.
(Do you sense an approaching theme?)

 A memorable visit back to childhood haunts (namely the township of Orepuki, Western Southland) in early May, provided me with the opportunity to show- and-tell the family stories of my childhood.

This stone wall used to run along a path leading away from the township shops. 

The wall (surely about one hundred years old by now) is made up of Orepuki beach stones and on sunny days, provided a sun-warmed spot for me to sit down with my adored Enid Blyton children's magazine, 'Sunny Stories'.

It was always an exciting day when I went to McDonald's Drapers after school (was it on a Wednesday?) to collect 'the books' (Mum's English Woman's Day and the 'Sunny Stories'). I could never wait until I got home to open up the 'Sunny Stories' If it wasn't raining, I'd perch myself on the stone wall and begin to read.

A familiar, yet very changed, stone wall, its stones melting into grass.

Seeing my son attending to his baby daughter outside what was once the very shop where I would go to get my favourite childhood magazines, was surreal. (Time swallowing its own tail).

The old stone wall edges a paddock where in the distance we could see the boarding house (now a church) that my Irish great-great-grandparents' (Bernard and Mary Reid) built after they'd emigrated from Derry, eventually settling in Orepuki. 
The old building also appeared to be fading into a background of sky and rain. 

Some people prefer not to dwell on / in the past. Maybe it gives them a headache. Maybe to them it's uninteresting, pointless and boring. Maybe it's too painful.
Perhaps, in fact, the best place is standing firm in the middle - sometimes looking back, yet with an awareness of how the past only exists because of the present moment, and how the past (and the future) protects the present moment.

The photo above of my son and baby granddaughter on the empty streets of my old hometown, is for me a symbol of standing fully present in the moment, between the past and the future.

Inside the front cover of my poetry book, 'Born To A Red-Headed Woman', is a quote from my daughter-in-law. It's something she said to me one day, out of the blue. "The future is in the past', she said.
And so it is.


Avus said...

Nice musings, Kay. I agree that the past can be a pleasant place without the maunderings of too much nostalgia (which never is what it used to be).

I, too, remember Sunny Stories with great affection - my mother bought it for me as an enticement to read (with great success). Remember the Faraway Tree?

Kay Cooke said...

Yes I do remember the Faraway Tree. The inspiration of Enid Blyon stories were part of how I started writing - I needed no encouragement to read! These days however, kiwi kids don't need to rely upon England for inspiration - local material has replaced that influence well and truly; as it should have. (Part of the process for the colonies I suspect).

Clocking Out

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