Tag Archives: picnic

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

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

One sandwich short of a picnic

In our rush to get out of the house today to enjoy the sunshine, I failed to throw even the most basic of picnic ingredients into the car. Which was a great shame because as we peregrinated (if one can in a car and in one’s own country), we came upon a beautiful picnic spot. Here it is; Ouruhia Domain, a few kilometres north of Christchurch, en route to Kaiapoi.

Ouruhia Domain

Ouruhia Domain

The Domain has playing fields, club rooms, playgrounds, tennis courts, picnic tables, old trees and superb macrocarpa shelter belts.  As well, there is  a serene area of native plantings. The native plants border the Kaputone Stream which is a tributary of the Styx River. I wrote about the Styx River here Source- to-sea.

Now, come wander the Domain with me; first across the bridge and in to the bush;

then back across the Kaputone stream to the fields and courts , so true to the style of the traditional country Domain.

As I was leaving the area of native plants, I noticed a plaque, nestled in the ground under a bush. It stopped me short. It was so unexpected. And it moved me to a small tear to see such a simple, modest tribute to one of New Zealand’s  world-renowned scientists. Here is the plaque. It honours Dr Neil Cherry.

Simple marker for a Scientist

Simple marker for a Scientist

A summary of his work and a little of his life story can be found on this website. 

In many ways, he was a traveller /pilgrim in his fields of interest and research; exploring new ideas and always working for a better world to the very end of his days. I particularly admire his work on behalf of veterans exposed to radioactive fallout from nuclear testing in the Pacific.

More of his life story can be found at  http://www.nzine.co.nz/features/neilcherry_lifestory_part15.html

and the story of his work with Ouruhia is here.

I must say I was glad I only discovered the Ouruhia community’s concerns about electromagnetic radiation when I came home, or we might not have stopped at the picnic spot for so long.

Being without that picnic sandwich, or any sustenance at all, and beginning to feel hungry from our explorations in exciting, unfamiliar territory,  we left the pleasant fields of Ouruhia and continued on to Kaiapoi. There we stopped for a McDonald’s take away before heading homewards. I have a guilty feeling that the take away may have done us more damage than any passing exposure to residual electromagnetic radiation at Ouruhia. Oh well, we had lovely peregrinations. Did you?

© silkannthreades