A long hot summer has ended with weather bombs and heavy rain sweeping the country. This has been great for putting some much needed moisture back into the soil and letting the plants and animals rebound after the worst drought to hit the country in 70 years. These early storms have given our world a much more autumnal feel with grey clouds and shifting patches of blue sky setting the scene for winter’s approach. Another sign of autumn is the ripening and harvesting of feijoas: one of our favorite fruits. Feijoas are native to South America, but have truly found a second home in New Zealand. Sweet, sour, tangy goodness! We’ve been eating, baking, jam-making, and generally gorging ourselves silly.
One of the boons of being back home is the chance to have a more direct relationship with the way we eat. Having access to a chunk of land that allows us to plant, grow and harvest our food has been amazing. Ann has been coaxing plants from seeds to final harvest and it is great to sit down to a meal that comes from the plot of land that we are living on. We are also raising a couple of pigs and cows to add to the larder further down the path. There is something about having a direct relationship to the way you eat that is incredibly rewarding. The taste of fruit and vege that goes from plant to plate in a matter minutes is amazing and we are very thankful for this opportunity. Another thread of this pattern is that we have bought kayaks, which give us the ability to go fishing off the coast and in our local tidal bays.
We have made it through our first year of being back in Aotearoa and it has been a time of laughter, tears, joy, strife and stress that is a life relocated. We have slowly found a tiny bit of rhythm amongst the myriad of details associated with finding our way here. It has been a difficult process with cultural and societal pressures adding to the inherent tension of finding our own path. We are realizing that living in a smaller country (and city) has its benefits and pressures and they are slowly coming to the fore as we deal with the day-to-day reality of life. We are learning to flow into the little pockets of ease that we find along this journey. With a smaller world these small eddies in life become all the more important as they add perspective to the world around us.
Through all of our trials and tribulations, I was able to find a great stress-reliever by channeling my creative energy into new projects. I recently produced a sculptural piece for an exhibit at the Cargo Shed. Although this was a spur-of-the-moment endeavor, I have many more plans for future pieces. In addition, I am excited to be working with some new tools that will allow my carving to develop to the next level. My aim is for these tools to bring further dimension and shadowing effect to my carving, while retaining the sense of movement and fluidity for which my work is known.