Tag Archives: parks

And the Bishop says…..

And the Bishop says, “let us cultivate a garden of gratitude”.

May this post be the beginning of my garden of gratitude; the starting point for my thankfulness for our new Transitional Cathedral.

The approach from the South

The approach from the South

My post contains excerpts from the homily of Bishop Victoria Matthews, delivered at the opening service for Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral, on Sunday  evening, 1st September. The Cathedral was designed by international architect Shigeru Ban, and by Yoshie Narimatsu and Warren and Mahoney.  The photos accompanying the text were taken by me on a fleeting visit to the Cathedral last week. I hope that, through my photos, you will understand some of the serenity and peace, and beauty and inspiration that our new Cathedral provides. It is a blessing to, once again, have a space, a gathering place for contemplation and praise and heavenly music and song. And to have a haven that smells so deliciously of new cardboard boxes; that reminds one of the safety and fun of all those childhood castles built, and games played, with the humble cardboard box. 🙂

Cardboard  Haven

Cardboard Haven

“First of all this cathedral is important because it is beautiful. In a city that is full of detours and demolished buildings; vacant lots and construction sites, beauty is incredibly important. Beauty reminds us that we must live into our potential. Beauty tells us to keep striving for excellence.

It is beautiful

It is beautiful

Secondly, this cathedral is a house of God. Cities need houses of prayer and places of worship, lest we ever think we are all there is to life. How very sad that would be. So whether it is the architecture, the music, the preaching or the prayer, a cathedral is meant to tell us that there is much more to life than we can see or even imagine and this is the place to start the search.

a house of God

a house of God

Thirdly, the Transitional Cathedral is clearly situated at the centre of the broken heart of this city. ……the cathedral stands as both a reminder of the past and a beacon calling us forward. I do think people need to be reminded of hope, faith and love, and that is what this cathedral does.

At the centre

At the centre (the floor was still being finished for the opening service when I took this photo.)

Hope, faith, love

Hope, faith, love

For the full text of the Homily please link here http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/9117919/Beauty-makes-cardboard-cathedral-important

For my earlier post on the Transitional Cathedral please link here https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/1116/

For a few details about our Bishop (from Canada) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Matthews

© silkannthreades

Ring in the spring

The daffodils in this post are for Lizzie Rose Jewellery and Teamgloria , and my mother, because they all love daffodils but daffodils don’t, and won’t, grow in their delightfully warm garden spaces.

The words in this post are especially for Lost in Arles, Heather ,as a way of thanking her for the link to Jean Vanier’s beautiful words in Wisdom of Tenderness  http://www.onbeing.org/program/wisdom-tenderness/234    Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche.http://www.larche.ca/en/jean_vanier/

“The curve of the earth lies fissured, its mantle cracked like a poorly cast  bell, yet with the warmth of spring’s caress, a vibration shimmers, swells, seeps, riverine, through the hollows and cracks of the slumped soil.

Fissure

Fissure

In the movement of the spring,  the bulbs, buried fast,  sense the tender loosening, the sweet lightening of their winter bedding. They awaken.   Stretch upward. Outward. Yawn, and smile a happy-sunshine smile.

And , then, precisely then,  we know, deeply, that even a broken bell has its own essential resonance; its own beautiful chime to ring. Listen.”

Essential Resonance

Essential Resonance

Chime of its own

Chime of its own

For those of you who like to know about location and history; we spotted the daffodils on a sun-drenched river bank on the Avon Loop. We were near the place on the river side which was once, very long ago, home to  the Canterbury Rowing Club. The Loop is a heritage area of Christchurch which was badly damaged in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Most of the land on that small bend in the Avon River is no longer suitable for housing, so the broken homes currently there will be removed/demolished. Eventually, the land will form part of a natural recreational park system along the river. It promises to be lovely and, strangely, in its new life it will almost be a reincarnation of its old life, which, beginning in the 1860s, was a wonderful, open space where thousands of Cantabrians enjoyed picnics and the sport of rowing. http://lostchristchurch.org.nz/opening-of-the-boating-season-avon-river

© silkannthreades

Spring equilibrium

So, what does one do on the day after a night of reckless over indulgence on cake and cookies and chocolate,  in my night kitchen?

Why , one ventures outdoors, of course, because Mother (Nature, that is) knows best how to return equilibrium to body and soul. So, that is what we did on this beautiful spring day. We sat by the water side, at Northwood, and watched the world and its wonders. We were in good company.

There were ducks, both on and off the water.

Come on in; the water's cool.

Come on in; the water’s cool.

And there was a family of ducks, with Mother and Father Duck being kept very busy with the activity of their one, little, early bird duckling.

Up on the rise, a pair of ducks was resting and, perhaps, contemplating, as they watched the dizzy whizzing of the ducks below, if they were ready for parenthood.

Contemplating duckling antics

Contemplating duckling antics

By the water’s edge, we saw two, sweetly serene seagulls, blissfully unaware of the raucous behaviour coming from the other seagulls perched on nearby rooftops.

And, then ,there was the lone Pukeko who came close enough to greet us but  decided that searching for food was a much more profitable way to spend the day. And, would we mind our own business, please!

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Lastly, before leaving for home, we communed with  pretty things, particularly pretty, spring things.

© silkannthreades

Even a child knows……

The other day I found an idyllic picnic spot and a commemorative plaque to Dr Neil Cherry at Ouruhia Domain. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/one-sandwich-short-of-a-picnic/

Kaputone Water

Kaputone Water

Whilst contemplating my surroundings and my discoveries, I remembered some other tranquil, picnic places I have known; in particular, ones from my childhood. Almost always, we sat by the water, the wimpling water, because, there, one might find the teeniest respite from  the heat and humidity of the tropics.

By the wimpling water

By the wimpling water

Picnic by Sea Water

Picnic by Sea Water

My memories of that time are rich and full. I swam and played and read  to my heart’s content. On a macro-mini level, my childhood was idyllic; yes, it was – idyllic.

But, in my immediate environment, and in the larger world, there were tensions of which I was acutely aware, although I was so very young. For one, there was racism, (and social and economic inequality).  There were people who lived at the lines (at the bottom of the hill), and there were people who lived at the top of the hill. There were children who could go to my school and children who couldn’t. And some were allowed at the club and others weren’t. Colour and colonialism ruled how our society lived. I knew this, even as a child; and I knew it wasn’t right and it wasn’t just.

But, more sinister, and more unmanageable and unfathomable to a child, were the less than peaceful events happening in the Pacific. At the end of the Second World War, the administrators and colonial rulers of much of the Pacific; namely the US, Britain and France, turned regions of their territories  into what may have been  the largest nuclear testing laboratory in the world. For their former enemies, there were reconstruction and development initiatives; for their faithful friends and allies in the Pacific; for the communities who sacrificed their land and lives for the war effort, there were, yipdee doo, nuclear testing programmes.

I don’t know ,or understand, all the details of the nuclear testing, but there is a plethora of information on the internet; much of it confusing to a non-scientist like me. What I do know is that in November 1962, when I was six years old and a bit,  I saw the aurora created by this

Kingfish 1 November 1962 Johnston Atoll 410 kilotons Operation Fishbowl, high altitude nuclear explosion, 97 km altitude, Thor missile with W-50 warhead, dramatic aurora-like effects, extensive ionosphere disruption, radio communication over central Pacific disrupted for over three hours

It was extraordinary, eerie, fiery and awful, and, as I don’t think we really knew for sure what was causing the transformation of the sky, it created a feeling of apocalyptic doom. More especially because this probable nuclear explosion came so soon after the drama of the Cuban missile crisis, when we worried, for days, that nuclear war was about to engulf the world. Young as I was, I remember the fear of potential nuclear warfare. Young as I was, I knew that what I saw in November 1962 was as wrong as it was awful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Dominic

The American and British testing came to an end not long after, but that was not the end of the Pacific’s nuclear battering, for the  French then  took over the nuclear testing baton in the Pacific. Between 1966 and 1996, the French conducted 181 nuclear explosions, 45 of them in the atmosphere, the rest underground. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moruroa

In all these nuclear testing exercises and experiments, there were accidents and disasters and fallout on innocent, peaceful Pacific Peoples. There was long lasting harm done to previously pristine environments…and for what reason… hubris, power, to make a safer world, because they could, so they did? I didn’t understand why as a child. I was implacably angry about it as a teenager and young adult, and, now, I am simply sad. Particularly sad because the testing has created a hardness in my heart; a small stony part of me that  struggles  to forgive a lengthy, nuclear invasion/abuse of my backyard.

Dr Neil Cherry tried  to help veterans/victims of radioactive fallout receive compensation. The struggle for recompense and recognition continue, as does the  impact of that nuclear testing  on the lives of ordinary citizens.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/03/french-nuclear-tests-polynesia-declassified

It’s also more than a little ironic that this whole nuclear scenario in the Pacific was only  possible because  our  most  famous, New Zealand scientist, Lord Rutherford of Nelson, discovered how to split the atom. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/manchester/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8282000/8282223.stm

To finish on a positive note, here are a couple of photos of my happy days in the bosom of my precious nuclear family; NUCLEAR; what a word to use for a family. 🙂

© silkannthreades

Atishoo….bless me….

Atishoo and bless me, and my little cotton socks*…….I have a cold. A drippy nosed, vexatious, miserable cold. I haven’t had a cold for years, so I am feeling very sorry for myself and in need of lots of blessings. (Yes, all blessings gratefully received.)  And, yes, you could bring me some soothing hot, lemon and honey tea, too. Thank you 🙂  That’s delicious.

One blessing that came my way this morning was a lovely photo (via Facebook) from fellow blogger Mike Howe.  Followed, shortly thereafter, by another one of his soothing musical posts  http://mikehowe.com/2013/06/30/music-for-one-of-the-greatest-nature-writers/.

Another blessing will arrive about 2 hours from now, in the form of Giles, the Dogfather. Giles, and his super, doggy assistant Diesil, take my very own little blessing, Jack, for regular, joyful exercise, training, and  canine and human socialization.  Jack is a much happier and calmer dog now that I am giving proper attention to his needs.  Here is Jack on one of his outings; he was having fun, truly!  His coat keeps him warm and dry and snug. ( He won’t need a coat today. The sun is shining beautifully.)In the Rain; it really is fun!

This photo is from Giles’ Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/thedogfathernz?fref=ts  He has some fun photos of wonder dog Diesil and the other dogs he trains. Take a look, if you would like a ‘cheer me up’ blessing for your day.

Well, that’s about all my brain can cope with today. *Oh, but one more something that made me smile through the sniffles, snuffles and sneezles…. I wondered, when I was blessing my cotton socks, how this strange little blessing came about. Here is what I found; it is smile worthy:   ‘George Edward Lynch Cotton, English clergyman and educator, assistant master at Rugby 1837-1852, the ‘young master’ in Thomas Hughes’s “Tom Brown’s School Days”. Bishop of Calcutta, 1858 where he did missionary work and established schools for Eurasian children. In requests to England he asked for donations of clothing, often emphasizing “warm socks” for the children. In fact he seems to have held the simplistic view that if the children had warm socks many of their problems, mal-nutrition, disease, racial prejudice etc. could be easily solved. Little old maiden ladies all over England spent their time knitting socks for Bishop Cotton and sending them off to India. He blessed all items used in his schools, and many shipments would arrive labeled ” Socks for Cotton’s blessing” and reportedly even “Cotton’s socks for blessing”. Cotton’s socks easily became corrupted to cotton socks,

© silkannthreades

Tales of snow and other things

Yesterday we had a little taste of winter. The weather was bleak. There was a wild, bitingly cold wind, hail, rain, sleet and snowflakes, and temperatures that barely rose above freezing point. Oh,  and a few moments of sun, as well.  I stayed indoors and tried not to mind the ice and cold whipping around the house.

This morning the storm was gone and the sun was shining again, but not with a lot of warmth. We ventured out to view the world. It hadn’t been cold enough for the snow to stay on the ground, at sea level, (where we are), but the hills of the city were covered with snow.

As we looked at the snow from a distance, we listened on the car radio to the story of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Sixty years ago, today, they reached the summit of Mt Everest; the first people to succeed in climbing to the top of the highest point on earth. Two humble climbers; one remarkable moment.

It is a great story, that first successful ascent of Everest. One part of the story that I  particularly like  is this; there were two New Zealanders on the expedition, Edmund Hillary and George Lowe. When Hillary descended from the summit, he was greeted by George Lowe and this was their exchange :-

Lowe, waiting at the South Col with a thermos, called, “How did you get on?”

“Well, George, we knocked the bastard off!”

“Thought you probably must have,” replied Lowe. “Here, have a cup of soup.”

For more information on this day, sixty years ago, try the following links.

(http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/8729855/Hillary-stands-atop-summit-of-NZ-fame) (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10872850)

And, here are some of the photos I took, today, of the first snowfall of the year. The scenery may not be up to Himalayan standards but it has its own charms and is a lot easier to access.

© silkannthreades

Peace and Reconciliation

Today, Anzac Day, we spent some quiet time at the Park of Remembrance.Peace and Reconciliation

It was a beautiful, sunny, autumn afternoon.Peace in the Autumn Sun

A few of the wreaths from the Dawn Service in nearby Cranmer Square had been placed at the base of the statue of Sergeant Henry James Nicholas V.C., M.M.   Sergeant Nicholas was awarded the military’s highest honour, the Victoria Cross, for his bravery in action in Belgium in the First World War.

Our Governor General in his Anzac Address this morning mentioned that, on this day, one hundred years ago, people were experiencing their last year of peace for the next four years. The following year, 1914, the world was engaged in The Great War; the war that people thought, or were told, would end all wars.

Peace, as we know it today, is incredibly precious.  Sergeant Nicholas did not live to enjoy that Peace.  We must live and honour that Peace for him.

For more information on Sergeant Nicholas go to the following link (http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/heritage/people/henrynicholas/)

© silkannthreades

Which way does the path take us?

Remember the best bus stop in Christchurch that I mentioned in my previous post. Here it is again from a different view point.Still no bus?

I am looking at it from across the road in Erica Reserve. The Reserve is a continuation of the restored natural habitat we visited yesterday. It includes a playground and picnic tables and room to run and jump and squeal, none of which we did because it was such a languid afternoon.

Instead we watched ducks being ducky and listened to water gliding by with a little ripple and chortle here and there. Ducks on Water

And we let the warm breeze float over and around us and rustle off  over the stream and through the trees.The rustles of the breezeWe sat on the park bench and wondered if we could hear the grass grow. I can't hear you. But we couldn’t. We listened so very closely and carefully  yet  our ears were too dull to catch a single sound.

So we sat in silence on the park bench and absorbed the sunshine in the gentle company of another seeker of sun.Let the sunshine in

At the end, or may be it is the beginning, of the Erica Reserve pathway there is a bridge Bridge to start, end or journey on through across the stream and some wetland ponds. To the right of the water pools is a retirement home, or village as the owners like to call such places. It looked very tranquil in its restored wetland setting.  Thinking of all the work and repairs awaiting at home, I was almost tempted to knock on the door and ask “May I come in?”Where to from here?But, then, I remembered the elderly gentlemen we talked to, yesterday, on the pathway across the road on the other side of the bus shelter. He lived in another retirement village close by.  He said “It’s a fine place. It’s really the best place for me but, you know, it’s not like home.”

So we stretched and eased ourselves slowly off the park bench and went home for a fine supper of chicken, followed by apple sponge pudding.

© silkannthreades

Recreation in restoration

Welcome to the best (as in the most beautiful) bus stop in Christchurch. It is on Grants Road in the suburb of Papanui.A beautiful bus stop!

From the bus shelter, it’s a short, short walk to the sculptured entrance way to one of our city’s treasures; a walkway that follows a waterway that was once little more than a drain. With careful planning and planting over the years, the waterway has been transformed into a lush habitat full of thriving native plants.

The entrance way Sculptured Entrance

The sculpture represents a restored waterway with all its many forms of life.

Swirls

Here is the waterway in its abundant new form.Happy waterWhere are the ducks?

Considering how little rain we have had, you can see, by the amount of water still in the waterway, that proper planting of riparian areas does help conserve water. Proper planting

Whichever way you look, there are rich vistas of native plants Plants and more plantsAlong the path

Our city council receives its share of fair and unfair criticism especially in these stressful post earthquake times. Today, I want to praise the council and their workers, and all the hard-working ratepayers, who make possible wonderful walkways like this. We had a jewel of an afternoon under glorious blue skies gently warmed by the autumn sun.Jewel of an afternoon

© silkannthreades

Waiting for you

PurpleStill on the theme of Waiting, this post is dedicated to my New Zealand born parents who, once upon a time, spent many happy hours at Mona Vale. They would have enjoyed being with us yesterday afternoon, were it not for the fact that they now live thousands of miles away in Queensland. Even though they live in Australia, they consider themselves more” Kiwi” than ever because, like New Zealand’s national bird, the Kiwi, they no longer fly.

Let’s start our stroll at the herbaceous border, near the car park.The Blues

More BlueStill blueWeird and white

Next we cross the bridge and look towards the railway line View to the railway and, then turn the other way, to follow the flow of the river.View to the walk bridge no longer walkable

Here is a seat waiting for youA seat for you

with blue flowers  like little satellite dishes, tuned towards you and the sun.Blue to you

And, if you get too hot, you can move to Hilda’s seat and test drive the perspective of a hundred year old lady.Another seat for you A bird in hand

As soon as you are seated, the birds will seek your company and your ducks will come looking for bread.Ducks will come to callThey are as eager as ever to be fed. There were a few white ducks today. I wonder if they are ever confused by their reflections. Their reflections confused me.Which side is up?

That’s all for now except for a brief stop to smell the roses. They are not at their best but the onesWish you were blue

that remain are harvesting the sunshine.

© silkannthreades