I am standing close enough to touch it; to press my cheek against it. But I can not. My hand is raised, ready to feel the rough surface, but I hesitate and withdraw as if afraid the redness of the metal may somehow burn me. Am I being fanciful? Possibly. Yet, the fact remains, my hand is restrained by a sense of overwhelming pain, imprinted on the object before me. It does not want to be touched. It is not ready; it is healing.
Are objects bearers of our burdens, our feelings? Do they carry our histories? Would I feel this way if I came to this piece of metal without knowledge of its tragic story. I am not sure.
What is this story and why am I so close to it on a sunny, Saturday afternoon, in the city of Christchurch?
I am here out of curiosity. The Reserve has been in existence for more than ten years. I have driven by many, many times, and know something of its origins, but have failed to stop for a proper visit. Today, I want to find out what I have been missing. This is what I find. This is what I see. This is the story.
This part of the story comforts me. It seems to validate my inability to physically communicate with the sculptured metal. “The sculpture stands……near the historic site of the former Tautahi Pa. There were important Maori cultural and spiritual issues to be considered in placing a sculpture made from a site of death near this significant life-giving site. Consultation……took place to ensure that processes and procedures were enacted to appropriately acknowledge and address the cultural considerations.” It also answers a question I posed in my earlier post on a sacred site a few metres further down river from the Firefighters Reserve….. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/still-floundering-after-all-these-years/
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