Retrieval

Retrieval

My local beach is scattered with broken scallop shells, the most fragments I have seen anywhere. As a child I remember seeing my first scallop shell, and marvelling at its beauty: the perfect fan, the little base, the one flat side and one scooped out. I enjoyed...
For the 300

For the 300

At the beach this morning I thought of those 300 shattered lives. I set out to gather 300 shells, one for each of them, sending prayers as I worked. But 100 was as many as I could manage. Each shell fragment represents not just a life lost, but the grieving families...
Prayer for stability

Prayer for stability

The tide is lapping against the beach walls when I walk down there to make something in the sand. In my mind I relive the horrific scenes from the Christchurch earthquake. The sound of the water is soothing. So many lives have been lost, and the people of Christchurch...
Summer’s end (2)

Summer’s end (2)

As summer draws to a close, I reflect on how different plants age.Some turn scruffy and straggly, and succumb to mould as they pass their greening time. They look rather sad. This is how the tomatoes and courgettes are: utterly spent.Then there is the beauty of the...
A perfect day

A perfect day

I took the high path over the hill yesterday. Swimmers were still congregating on the beach, and the life guards were still there, keeping people safe in the turbulent surf. Every day feels precious as summer draws to a close. Even though I’ve been coming out to...
Summer’s end

Summer’s end

I can feel the end of summer approaching. As I wandered up the stream, here on the west coast, I noticed seeds forming everywhere: big clusters in the cabbage trees, lupins shaking loose their summer rattles, toi tois waving feathery fronds, flax stalks holding out...
Beach morning

Beach morning

Making sandcastles with Mira (2 1/2 years), and time slipped by. At first she chose sand that was too wet, and I had to tip off the excess. But the sandcastles held together well. We sat beside the row of four, proud of our work, and watched a shag swimming by,...
A garden seat

A garden seat

In this ripening time of late summer, I travelled to Nelson and visited an old friend. She’s a gardener, and an art dealer, and in her garden I spotted this old seat.There it sits, mellowed by age, rendered even more beautiful than when it was new. ‘Just...
Summer travels

Summer travels

I visited Paekakariki, enjoying the warmth of late summer. The hills are covered in long grass, with seed heads rippling in the wind, giving a softness to the landscape. The coast line is long and open, guarded by Kapiti Island, a place of much history. A new...
The magic of light

The magic of light

Sometimes the light out here at the bach takes me by surprise. I gasped when I glanced out the window just on nightfall yesterday. During the day, clouds had gathered over the sunny skies yet again, in this season of summer storms. But then suddenly the sky...
Mellowing

Mellowing

I’ve been reading on Penny’s blog from the northern hemisphere about the first rays of returning light peeping into cold nooks in her snow-bound home. At the same time I notice a withdrawal of light here in the southern hemisphere. Lammas (Lugnasadh, First...
Storm treasures

Storm treasures

Playing at the edge of the sea yesterday, late afternoon, after the storm. Golden kelp and green weed are carried up in the waves. Fishers stand on the wharf, angling for a catch. My catch is beach treasure. I make a nest, or maybe a basket for it, and then a mask....