Sunday, October 09, 2011


It's been a Big Week. (When is a week not big these days, I ask you?) Suffice to say, this morning's quiet is welcome after a run of higgeldy-piggedly days and a night of unexpected shenanigans. I'm home alone for the first time in ages and was woken from deep sleep at midnight - outside, the leer of sirens, throbbing truck engines and loud shouting. A sojourn into the garden (don't you love being outdoors at night; bare feet on damp grass; stars ablaze in the deep, deep dark?) revealed a blazing fire on the scrubby footpath just below my house. Thankfully, the fire service was there, taking charge with their fire-quenching hoses and a certain boisterous efficiency.

I stood under the arch of my old wooden side-gate, watching proceedings from the hedge, a safe distance away. The patterns created by the luminous stripes on the firemen's jacket's took me back to my walk along the beach at Aramoana this time last week. There was plenty of evidence of 'boisterous efficiency' there, too - nature's artistry everywhere I looked; her handwriting authoritative; her rhythms lyrical, playful, insistent. I never cease to be surprised by her tenderness and force, by the beauty she offers up even in things fragmented or worn. I was struck then - as I am in this moment - by the way nothing is ever lost, every thing we encounter seems to be an echo-expression of some other thing that precedes it or postdates it. Everything's in a state of forming and reforming. . . even when it may seem otherwise? 

This sea lettuce (as weightless and soft as a damp silk handkerchief) particularly entrances me - how is it possible that flotsam so light can leave so determined a track in its wake? It looks to me as though it seized a moment when no one was looking, careened across the sand and skidded to a halt a split second before I happened upon it. (Sitting there quietly - innocence personified - you'd think we don't know it has willpower and wheels secreted below its green skirt? Ice and mushrooms play these tricks on us, too - have you ever seen a frozen wave form, or caught a mushroom in the act of rising up out of the earth?). 

Sea lettuce skedaddles


  1. Only you, my dear Claire, could find beauty in a dark wet garden while your garden walk and archway may soon be ash! And that's why we come here, your followers, because you find beauty where the rest of us would only find complaint, or fear, or worry; debris or flotsam. Your generous heart always finds and makes and remakes beautiful things from every part of our world. It humbles me, who loves to grouse and huff and fume. Thank you for your gorgeous sea lettuce--these pieces seem to be laughing. xoxo

  2. You have used some of my favourite words! Skedaddle, shenanigans, higgledy-piggledy... quite apart from the beautiful visual images. A treat for a lazy Sunday. Thankyou x

  3. Like what comes before or after, I'm going to echo what Melissa (and it's so nice to see her writing again!) said: you find the beauty in all.

    This post was the most delightful piece of writing of read all day. Literally under fire, you bow to nature's beauty--and it seems there's so much of it around you-- and it all glows. You're nature's finest curator, Claire. :)

  4. "echo-expression" I like that. I like that a lot.

  5. The breaking down brown on gray is a pleasure to look at!

    A warm hello from Boston . . .

  6. From Neruda to tracks left by a "leaf". Resonance.:)

  7. Your lettuce reminds me of the racetrack playa in Death Valley - except the opposite: how can wind move things that are so heavy?