'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Eating Figs and Washing Windows

I've been away house-sitting for about a week.
I've eating their figs straight from the tree, and watching Tui sip nectar from the flax-flowers, and hearing their amazing calls: chiming, wardle-ardles, glottal stops and obstruents.
I've been smiling at the quail and their silly little bobbing top-kots, and watering the vegetable garden.
I've also been reading the owner's books, listening to their music and cleaning their windows*.
And looking at the view: the in-and-out of the tides and changing light and weather over the estuary.

It really has been quite delightful.

* About 130 of them.  Phew!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Mindfulness and Other Thoughts

I lingered in bed this morning listening to Noelle McCarthy talk with Dr Rick Hanson who has written a book entitled 'Hardwiring Happiness'.
While listening I had, not quite an epiphany, but certainly a greatly pleasing scientific confirmation of a strongly-held personal philosophy of mine. In a nutshell: that taking the trouble to notice and remember Good Stuff makes you happier.  Apparently it also grows part of the brain, which in turn makes it easier to keep doing.  Which in turn makes you calmer, happier, more able to deal with stress and bad stuff, and as a nice bonus, you live longer.

Afterwards I got up and, standing on my back porch, it seemed the clouds were scudding only just above the tops of the trees in my back garden.  I felt I could have touched them.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Water on the Road.

Mirage near Ngatea.
Is it a flood over the road?  Nope - just a phenomenon of New Zealand summers when the air is still and cooler than the road.
When we were little my sister and I would entreat Dad to drive faster to try and 'catch' mirages before they 'dried up'.
We also used to try and get him to go fast and make a big splash through the tiny ford that trickled across the road to one of our picnic spots...  was it Maraetotara,  or Maraekakaho? - one of those small rural districts, I always get them muddled.
Speaking of picnics, I remember once we were picnicking up Rissington way, and a ewe kept moaning in the paddock nearby. Our grandparents must have been there, because Poppa went to see and said it was having trouble lambing.  I never did know if he helped it, but the sound of the poor creature bothered my memory for days.  I was a sensitive soul.
But the best thing I remember was when there was a summer thunderstorm and once, just once, we raced to the edge of the rain, and came through onto the dry road as if we had passed through a curtain or emerged from a waterfall.  That was marvelous!  We peered through the small back window of our Hilman but we had definitely left the dense rain shower behind us, trying to keep up. And there was that thrill knowing that if we stopped, it would catch us up, like some kind of living thing.

Ah happy days.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014 has begun

As I write these words it's 12 minutes into the new year.

May this new year bring you health and happiness.
And if there are any metaphorical clouds, I hope they are interesting shapes and colours and not raining on you for too long.

View from the alpaca farm one evening last year.