After a long mild autumn the Winter has arrived and seems intent on making up for lost time. We had five consecutive days of heavy rain with floods in all the usual places where, in aeons past, bogs and lakes used to live and now want to return to check out the old family home. Then, in the high country at least, there was some snow. On Monday, a day off after a busy weekend, I drove up to Naseby to try and find some, and was not disappointed. There was snow knee deep beside the road all the way through the Pig Root and fog and hoar frost. In the fog free bits the sun shone brightly out of an inky sky onto a vast white landscape: my very favourite kind of weather, cold, clear, sharp, huge, still. This is the Maniototo; Middle Earth; Tolkien landscapes that need no photoshopping in order to flabbergast the punters.

There was a stop or two for photos, and a swift trip down a back road into Naseby for lunch in a quaint little cafe. I learned that the new car can handle with panache a)black ice b)dirt roads and c) snow. I drove home rested and pleased with the day, to digest the lessons of the weekend and to face the conversations of this week.

Our diocese is not without its challenges. If we are to grow into the future, there are changes to be made in the way we organise our common life together and these must be implemented soon. We have one or two complicated pastoral and organisational problems which clamour for my attention. We have vacancies to be filled. We need to find a new generation of leaders. The weight of it all sits heavily at times, but the good will and optimism of the people I met in Winton on Sunday is what fuels me. That, and a few precious hours spent alone in the vast and timeless land


How I would love to see that landscape. Punter is not a term we use in my part of the world. I looked it up in some urban dictionaries but it there were a number of definitions. I think our word "poseur" gets closest perhaps?

Also fascinating to me being on the other side of the world because summer began in earnest in South Texas last week.
Bill said…
Don't let the Church weigh heavy on you, remember that it is God's church not ours, very often we confuse the too. Things will get done and put in order in due time, just make sure that you are doing the "bishop things" that keep your mind alive. You sound like a very inspirational bishop, I wish we had you here in the US!!!!!!!
Alden Smith said…
"I drove home rested and pleased with the day"

No you didn't, you came home pleased that you had been out of sight in the middle of nowhere, broadsiding on the shingle roads, doing burnouts and handbrake turns - panache? a euphenism for trashing the crap out of Suburu - and good on you I say.
VenDr said…
Punter is a term meaning customer or prospect, as in someone who is going to take a punt (ie bet) on the deal you have to offer.
The church does weigh heavy on me, which is a good thing. If I wasn't worried about it there would be no incentive to make the changes that are absolutely necessary. Yes, it is God's church but God has committed it to my temporary stewardship, which is what ordination is all about, isn't it?
And Alden, I can honestly say I didn't do any handbrake turns. I'd be very reluctant to try that in any SUV, especially one I don't personally own; and as speeding tickets go directly to my office, I take special care to avoid them wherever possible.And is wasn't the sort of day for whizzing past the landscape. I dawdled through most of it. It is, I suppose, just possible that on some of the back roads I may have been marginally over the speed limit once or twice.
daharja said…
This country never ceases to stun me with its beauty. I've been here two years but, due to the responsibilities of having young kids, have seen far less of it than I hoped.

We're only a tiny speck of islands on the world, but there's more than enough loveliness here to last me a lifetime of bliss and wonder. And I never cease being thankful for it :-)