Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Away and Home

I'm home. I hear the birds in my garden (hello birds), see the line of Mt Cargill through my bedroom window, that pleasing tiny red roof perching on the horizon. An hour ago I unfolded my computer to travel back through blogs of friends, and now, here I am, back in the portal of blogmedium. I left these things behind more than a month ago, and it's comforting to find them again, (although diving back in here has a small touch of the scare and thrill of a cool sea).

Someone said to me: you'll come back changed. I'm not so sure I would say it with such big words, but I can sense that a raft of gifts has come my way. Some of it feels like good food. The flavour still lingers a bit, and now my insides are getting on with absorbing the nutrients. Other aspects are still bright in my mind, and I'm tempted to look for shields and mirrors, to keep them focused and sharp for as long as I can. I am waking early - is this a gift too? It could have something to do with the fast moving ground I've landed on at work, but I prefer to think that part of me, beyond my say so, is still away, and refusing to surrender to these down under diurnal rhythms.

Anyway, the up-side is that I have time to savour the France and Britain that I got to meet. There's something about being here in Aotearoa NZ - beautiful, spiritual land that it is, that still leaves me aching for the structures - the footprint - of my early early line of forebears. And I found them. Not the bloodlines so much, but the cultural cradle. Drawings etched 17000 years ago onto the limestone cave walls in the Dordogne, France; ancient monastries and churches (I added my song into the stones of one, built 900 years ago.) Then there was the Bronte parsonage - a stones throw from my friend's home. I looked onto it from my small upstairs bedroom window, and this neighbouring family came alive as I read my book - an account of their lives in beautifully wrought fiction: A Taste of Sorrow. (Thanks Mary M for this recommendation on your blog.) Oh, and much more.

My hands went to work there. It didn't seem enough to see and to smell. I wanted to touch, so I did: stone after stone. At other times I put the soles of my feet to work. Stripped off, soft, and so short-lived in the scheme of things, they did their thing. Padded out onto those stubborn remnants that speak our history, and laid down another invisible layer all of their own.


  1. Sounds like you were well rocked in the "cultural cradle" and that you travelled well. Elegantly written, too. Nau mai ano, taku tau. Welcome back!

  2. lovely, pam...such rich new material to sort through in the months ahead.
    i am so grateful, by the way, to you and others from your part of the world, (as compared with, eg, france & england) for focusing my attention on the vast storehouse of NZ lore and literature. it's a treasure i am eager to dip into.

  3. Pam, welcome back to NZ and blogging and the Tuesday Poem! You've been missed. This is such a beautiful post which expresses so well the yearning you talk of and many of us feel. I'm so pleased you loved Taste of Sorrow - and oh! to read it where you did. There must have been ghosts in your room and dogging your barefeet ...

  4. ... and Susan, thank you for your enthusiasm for NZ lore and literature... I'm not sure it's a vast storehouse, but it's certainly a storehouse that usually passes under the global radar... you should come and visit sometime

  5. A lovely piece of writing. I know what you mean about that cultural cradle. I've been fortunate to visit the Bronte home twice. Once in a mild summer's day, once in a chill winter mist. Radiance & Bleankess. Opposite poles.

  6. mary & pam: i think the quality of the poets from NZ says that there are strong visual and emotional forces at work. i want to know more about them. (the beauty of the land is a powerful draw...)

  7. Thanks John for welcoming my still rocking self back home.

    Susan - great to hear from you. Interesting to get an outside perspective on our voice/s. And yes to the seed that Mary has planted. Perhaps you or you+others could visit one day, see what you think...

    Mary, yes it was quite something to be reading the book there. I'd hunted it out at the library - the only one I could find was hardcover and weighed piles, but it was worth it! I also got a one-on-one tour with a consummate story teller whose special interest is the Brontes. I was transported - three episodes of welling up...

    Harvey - thanks for your comment. My tour through Haworth was in light rain. My story teller held a brolly over my head and under his other arm, a fat leather satchel with copies of letters from Bronte family members. Next day I was up on the moors, heading for Top Withens,inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Appropriately the weather was wild, the rain even more drenching. (My only two wet days in nearly four weeks away.)

  8. Happily, I have arrived at your personal (rather than work) blog, thanks to your link. Fine company and evocative words, especially as even the soles of your feet were enlisted to absorb the history they could touch. Adding your song to the stones, an act I can imagine easily, feels like such a strong heart connection.

  9. Hi Marylinn, welcome, and thanks for taking the time to make the trip here. I like the idea of enlisting our soles. My recent experiences reminded me how well they serve us, not only for getting us around.