Precious Metal

This is metal, precious metal, from the World Trade Center.Branded for Life

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 at the Firefighters Reserve, on the corner of Kilmore and Madras Streets, Firefighters Reserve

next to the Central Fire Station. Central Fire Station

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.

The TributeThe SculptureThe Story BeginsSculptureSculptureSculptureSculptureThe 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…..

And, finally, the story ends or, perhaps, begins a new telling.Endings or Beginnings

And ,so, I sit and reflect Reflecting

how I,  in my small corner of the world,Small corner

can help to heal the wounds of our world.WoundedIn the words on the plaque………


PUMAUTIA KI TE POU ROKO    © silkannthreades

12 thoughts on “Precious Metal

  1. vsperry

    We saw that sculpture on our trip through your city. It is amazing to me how something so simple as twisted steel can take on a different meaning when viewed in the context of where it came from and how it became so mangled. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am glad to know that you have seen the sculpture. I think it would be interesting to take someone to view it, perhaps a young child, who did not know the story, and ask what they made of it. Would they sense its tragedy?

  2. leapingtracks

    What a beautiful post, thank you. You have taken us on such a profound journey here. When I got to the end, I sat to think about what is going on around me – listening sleet lashing our windows, as it happens. How do I feel? Saddened to think about the past events to which you refer, pragmatic about our relationship with nature and overall optimistic for the future – how else could we look to the horizon?

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for being with me on my afternoon at the Reserve. I was taken aback by the many stories that were woven together on that one site. And, of course, after our earthquakes, there is another story to add about the dedication of our firefighters. Overall, I am optimistic about the future. There are, I believe, more people working for goodness and peace than the contrary.

      1. Born To Organize

        I love your perspective. One of the things I’ve discovered through blogging is that our world is full of wonderful, peaceful, kind, artistic, thoughtful and caring people. The good outweighs the bad, it’s just that the bad (like the events of 9/11) color us with fear and sadness…and for some more rage.

        It’s fitting to see that lots of thought went into cultural sensitivities before placing this profound piece. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. It was very hard to photograph that sculpture so I ended up by taking shots from strange angles. The ground around the area is very uneven from earthquake damage so I had to watch my footing.


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