Monday, February 8, 2010

stop, drop, ascend

The idea of upstairs has always held magic for me. I have vivid recall of my cousins' house, with its bridal-train staircase spreading at the base, my nana's flower strewn flight of stairs that rose sharply from her front door, the wooden staircase to my ballet teacher's sparse studio above George Street. In amongst the armful of dreams that I cradled through my childhood was the image of my own big house with lots of rooms - and stairs. Right now, decades on, I sit upstairs in my room, looking out over a valley to the tree-smattered hills on the other side. Is it magic that this longing has come to pass? Not only do I live in a large house, which is three whole stories high on the cellar side, I work in two jobs - one of the top floor of the tallest building on campus, and the other at the same level in a century plus old building in the city. Stairwells at every turn - not to mention the views. Recently I discovered a new magic that enables me to head on up. This one takes a gentle discipline. At 6 or 7 minutes past 8 oclock in the morning, amidst the flurry of getting ready to work, my aim is this: relax hands and position self in front of the bedroom couch. Bend knees and drop onto the cushions. Breathe. Listen. The NZ concert programme offers a beauty spot after the weather report every day. It's someone's choice of something gorgeous. The kind of music that makes you melt, that gets you, somewhere close to where those sweet saturating daydreams of childhood used to live.


  1. Lovely lovely writing. And a good recommendation. I will try the same...

  2. Thanks Mary. Good to know you'll be tuning in too. Enjoy!

  3. I know a poem about stairs;
    As I was going down the stair
    I met a man who wasn't there
    He wasn't there again today -
    I wish that man would go away!
    "stair" is probably there for the rhyme, but there's something about stairs and transit and transition...
    As for the music - ah yes. That gets me up the stairs and occasionally out the window and climbing in the trees and swinging thru the branches like a monkey...

  4. Ahh yes - I've seen it and I love it!

  5. You in your eerie, breathing in (and out)the beauty spot; like a vivifying scent on the wind, this is doing us all good. Thank you!

  6. '... the wooden staircase to my ballet teacher's sparse studio above George Street... ?' Are you describing 140 George Street, Map? CB's first NZ studio? As Is headquarters? I think so!

    Your entry today reminds my of my own fondness for staircases - my grandparents' two especially; one swept upwards towards their bedroom (and my button box); the other dipped downwards into darkness, no matter what time of day it was. I always felt a sense of unease around those stairs, avoided using them if at all possible.

    I wonder why that was? Something about the descent, I suspect... it's generally easier to go upwards, don't you find?

    To echo what Mary and Pen have said - "Lovely, lovely writing" and 'this is doing us all good." Thank you xx

  7. Thanx P and C, Yes, nothing spooky about the eyrie - in contrast to those stairs that go down into the dark. Interesting isn't it. Mystery in both the ascent and descent, yet such a different emotional loading. Those stairs weren't the 140 George street ones cb, but they so could have been. These were somewhere near and opposite Knox. The passage and staircase were unadorned, dark brown, and they led up to the chamber of the princess - my pretty and oh-so-adored ballet teacher. Her name was Joy.