This weekend, a handsome new bird feeder arrived on my doorstep; within the next day or two, it'll be mounted to hang from the big old tree in my front garden. The bellbirds, kereru, wax-eyes, tuis and I will be able to enjoy breakfast in each others' company - perch to porch - each morning.
If birds could write thank you letters, I have no doubt there'd be a stuffed mailbox for the kind and clever person who hand-crafted this safe-haven for our feathered friends. It's beautifully made; the wood (cedar, manuka, macrocarpa) will silver over time and the copper flashings will tarnish as they're exposed to our salt-laden harbour-side weather; this feeder's built to last.
A small green visitor (spot the cicada?)
I'm in contented nesting mode at the moment; after several years of accelerated adventure, learning and transition, it's good to be settling back into a quietly considered rhythm. What pleasure to be able to plunge my hands daily into the rich, fertile soil of home. House, studio and garden are getting a good deal of much-needed attention; since returning from my last big trip, I've laid the grounds for a new body of work and when I haven't been in the studio, I've been outside digging up and re-planting a section of my garden that seems to me to have been waiting for this kind of time and dedicated affection.
Every now and then it strikes me that I'm in the slightly surprising company of clarity, ease and balance. Dare I believe this might even become a sustainable pattern?
Speaking of balance, my much-anticipated spirit vials (the 'bubble' components used to make builders' levels and to provide a level axis on navigation instruments, cameras, etc... ) arrived from the US. Yay. I was relieved to find them waiting on my front doorstep when I returned from Wellington a week or so ago. I'm incorporating these fragile glass vials in a series of paintings and sculptural pieces for my exhibition at The Arthouse in Christchurch in August. The vials (as object and metaphor) are integral to what's been a life-long exploration into the methods and modes of relationship we play out in our lives. This new work addresses the various imperatives of solitude, one-on-one companionship, family, small group dynamics and, too, communal, collaborative exchange. (I'll say more about all this as the process unfolds.)
As I write, it occurs to me that certain things - whether bird feeder, spirit vial, opportunity, challenge, departure or meeting - certain things come along at precisely the right time.
Going back to birds for one more moment... They make me think warmly of my father. My childhood home in Johannesburg was named Izinyoni (Zulu word meaning 'home of birds) and feeding birds is a ritual my dear pa - now living in the UK - has been faithful to for as long as I can remember. He advocates that we have much to learn from birds, that nature is nurture.