Saturday, April 28, 2012

Diet and Exercise



Beat around the bush.
Jump to conclusions.
Climb the walls.
Wade through paperwork.
Drag my heels.
Push my luck.
Make mountains out of mole hills.
Hit the nail on the head.
Bend over backwards.
Jump on the band wagon.
Balance the books.
Run around in circles.
Toot my own horn.
Climb the ladder of success.
Pull out the stops.
Add fuel to the fire.
Open a can of worms.
Put my foot in my mouth.
Start the ball rolling.
Go over the edge.
Pick up the pieces.


It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness - Confucious

Peace Is Its Own Reward - Mahatma Ghandi

"Peace begins with a smile" - Mother Teresa

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kermit Discovers His Atman

Yep, no matter what your circumstance, scratching the existential itch goes on relentlessly and sometimes deep truths come upon oneself unexpectedly. Its tough being green.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Third Rock From The Sun

Yes, there we are, third rock from the sun. If you look closely with a magnifying glass you might just be able to make yourself out (only if you are outside of course). Imagine, one day there might be Google Maps with Street Views of roads on other planets.

At Hikurangi School here in New Zealand we are studying Space / Solar System etc this term - Now that should be fun learning all the names of the planets! - but what about poor old Pluto? seems like its not looked upon as a planet anymore and has fallen from that Parthenon aka the official list (It seems that in terms of planets, size does matter). You can't turn your back for a second these days without someone changing or increasing the sum of human knowledge. Perhaps when we recite the list of planets we will whisper the word 'Pluto' so that it doesn't disturb the new world view. Pluto rocks I say, (5th rock actually, the others are gas planets) hanging in there out on the edge, held forever by the massive gravitational attraction of our warm and life giving sun.

No doubt our classroom will end up with planets made out of balloons covered with painted papier mache hanging from a wire strung across the classroom - planets for teachers to bump their heads on and for children to laugh at : > )


".. and to any others who have felt the thrill of the back country and still long to explore what might lie just around the next bend. I know of no better way of doing just that, than having a fine canoe under one's seat, a sleek paddle in one's hand, a little bug dope in your pocket, and a harmonica near the top of your pack."--
--- Book dedication from Kenai Canoe Trails - Daniel Quick

" ....What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other travel. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.... "
--- Pierre Elliott Trudeau

"....There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats...."
--- From: "The Wind in the Willows" - Kenneth Grahame

A New NZ Symbol

Perhaps this flower could become a new, New Zealand symbol - The turquoise of our southern braided rivers, the red of our NZ Christmas tree the northern Pohutukawa, the burnt yellow of our tussock grasses, the bright yellow of Kowhai blossoms, the green of our native forests, the bright blue of the Pacific Ocean, the soft blue of our big happy sky - all tinged with the orange of a westward sailing sunset welcoming high stars over the good earth of Aotearoa New Zealand.


These paper poppies are sold by the New Zealand RSA (Returned Services Association) (The services being the Army, Navy and Air Force) to raise money for the care of ex servicemen and women. On a proportional basis New Zealand has one of the highest numbers of service men and women killed during World War 2.

ANZAC Day had its beginnings after the first world war and especially the battle at Gallipoli in Turkey. ANZAC stands for 'Australian and New Zealand Armoured Corps'. We fought alongside Australians at Gallipoli and this was the genesis of what is called the 'Anzac Spirit' - facing adversity together with our now great Trans Tasman sporting rivals.

At various services nationwide today the tradition of playing the 'Last Post' on a lone bugle and the reading of these words from the poem 'For The Fallen' by Robert Binyon took place.

" They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. "

There is a growing interest in New Zealand amongst young people to participate these dawn services and there is a growing trend for young New Zealanders living or travelling in Europe to make a pilgrimage to ANZAC Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey to participate in commemorative services there.

I think this growing interest is appropriate so long as it doesn't tend towards the glorification of war - the Hitler war was a war that had to be fought and won and we owe a debt to those who fought it on our behalf.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Czeslaw Milosz - New and Collected Poems (1931 - 2001)

In response to a comment by Ben on my recent post "Those Old Stars - The High Stars of the Southern Cross" I wrote.....

........."I remember Arthur Ransome the author of the 'Swallows and Amazons' series of books for children stating that wherever he was overseas during the disruptive war years (WW2) he always looked for the Pole Star at night and knew that it was also shining on his beloved Lake District in England where he had so much joy as a child, and that to do this, gave him great comfort."

I remembered this statement of Ransomes because I myself have this curious sentiment about places I have visited. Even as I am typing this I know that a soft surf breaks below the Pohutakawa trees on that delightful beach at Peach Cove, Whangarei Heads where I once paddled my kayak and that at this time of night it is cool and misty on the tops among the brown tussock on Banks Peninsular where I rambled and explored as a boy - these places, once seen and experienced become a triolgy to us as they exist not only in our minds and hearts, but in actuality.

I have been reading the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz lately (Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1980). His poem 'Hope' talks of this and more.


Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

You cannot enter. But you're sure it's there,
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.

Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope,
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.


Earth Wind and Firewood

If this photograph had been taken from a distance and included the immediate surroundings of garages, driveways, fences, gardens and plants then the eye may not have been drawn to the patterns of interest within this pile of firewood. This photo is not like some of the saccharine photos posed on calendars - it speaks of ordinary things.

I like chopping firewood up with a sharp axe, there is something elemental about this action - like digging the earth to make a garden, sailing on the wind and the lighting of a fire to cook simple food.

Perhaps we (and our planet) would all be a lot better off if we kept strictly to the 'keep it simple' principle.

Beneath The Surface

Any Blogger knows this: - In the list of Posts that appear under the 'Edit Posts' tab there are always a few Posts that have never been published - they represent all sorts of things - ideas half formed / formulated or a great photograph awaiting an idea. I have 8 or more such unpublished photos / ideas in my list of over 200 published postings.

The fact of having things abiding their time in the background reminds me of books that I have bought over the years. Usually I read pretty much straight away the books that I have purchased locally or have winged their way over the Pacific from Amazon Dot Com, but sometimes I don't. Sometimes I put a book aside and pick it up later. It can be many years later that the book that was put aside unread will sometimes almost literally leap out from the bookshelf and asks quite assertively to be read and often comes at an opportune and important moment.

I am also reminded of some ideas of C G Jung, when he said that there is something sun like about our existence. He used this metaphor to describe our lives - the sun rises from the sea, we also are born and rise from the collective unconscious of our ancestors - we rise, as does the sun to our fullness / zenith at midday and then proceed sun like towards the setting of our life as we plunge into the great unconscious? mystery of death.

There is nothing really unusual about this metaphor, it is similar to the idea of seasons - The vibrant green of Spring is our youth, the yellow of sunny Summer our early adult hood, the red and gold of Autumn the season before the dark Winter of our lives. Jung wrote about certain journeys we need to take along this path, things we need to learn, experiences we are required to have on the road to Individuation, or the fullness of all that we could become. He stated that our potential is not something that accumulates as we live, rather, who we can become is there in its fullness when we are born - and that by taking lifes journeys with courage this fullness unfolds like a flower in sunlight. He said that journeys that aren't undertaken earlier on the road reappear later coaxing us to listen to the call. These are journeys that call us to learn, grow and face the responsibilities of being a connected human being. I guess they lie like draft copies of unposted blog stories waiting to be lived out.

Rain - Hone Tuwhare

RAIN - Hone Tuwhare

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady drum - roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me


Saturday, April 7, 2012


This photo reminded me of the deer park next to Magdalene College in Oxford and 'Addisons Walk'. The entrance to this walk is right next to 'New Buildings' (cira 1600!),where Lewis lived; a walk taken often by C S Lewis in company with J R R Tolkien and their friends.

I walked Addisons Walk myself in 2006 when on a pilgrimage walk around Oxford. Its a short and pleasant walk (hardly the Camino Compostela Santiago pilgrimage). I remember thinking at the time that I was literally walking in the footsteps of creative giants. Later I had a beer at the 'Eagle and Child' the watering hole of the 'Inklings' a group of University and Literary friends including Lewis and Tolkein. I admired the photographs and other memorabilia. Unfortunately I didn't get to see Lewis' house close by in Headington or visit the graveyard which is a pity because there was an inscription on the grave of Lewis' wife Joy Davidman that I wanted to see for myself. There is not enough room here to explain the big picture of Lewis' relationship with Joy Davidman but he said this of her:

"She was my daughter and my mother, my pupil and my teacher, my subject and my sovereign; and always, holding all these in solution, my trusty comrade, friend, shipmate, fellow-soldier. My mistress; but at the same time all that any man friend (and I have good ones) has ever been to me. Perhaps more."

When Joy Davidman died Lewis had these words (below) written on her gravestone. I used this inscription myself when placing a death notice for my mother in the local paper when she died in 1994. The inscription reads:

Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
and field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hopes that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In Lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day.

It's Easter Sunday tomorrow and I am thinking of my mum and others - and those are the words that I needed to say.

How Times Have Changed

I asked several children this week what they thought Easter was all about - I was given astonished looks and told that it was all about the Easter bunny and Easter eggs - there was the faint silent echo of the word 'stupid' after the word eggs - Well Bob Dylan did write "The Times are a Changin" and I do remember singing it.

If you are a Christian you will be happy that Christ has risen.
If you are a child you will be happy the Easter bunny is coming.

If you are me, you will acknowledge the metaphor of the resurrection, then say bugger it and scoff the lovely pagan, chocolate, marsh mellow Easter eggs and hide the bathroom scales under the bed.

Early Morning Blog

Northland heads from Autumn into Winter - daylight saving has been and gone - the days are becoming shorter and the temperature has a new edge. Its early morning 4.41 a.m. - and I haven't slept at all - this happens sometimes in the holidays and with the change of seasons, I get a bit out of kilter - but at least this morning I will be able to practise and perfect my skill and technique as an aspiring perfect sleeper inner.

At this point I wanted to type out a poem that I have just read, but I am too tired, bugger.....zzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Those Old Stars - The High Stars of the Southern Cross

There is only one thing better than seeing the Southern Cross - and that's seeing the Southern Cross from the decks of a small cruising yacht on a warm clear night after a good days sailing.

"When you see the Southern Cross
For the first time
You understand now
Why you came this way" - Crosby, Stills and Nash