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Filling in the Gaps

I had a day off today and went for a drive in the country, North past Waikouaiti and Palmerston and then Westward through the Pigroot to Naseby and St. Bathan's. I took my camera in case I happened on something picturesque, which was likely, given the amount of snow that has fallen on my diocese over the last week. Taking a camera out into the countryside is a wonderful excuse. A bit like the way having grandchildren is a great reason to buy and read all those lovely books that you are far too sophisticated for, having a camera and a bag of lenses gives a sense of purpose to an otherwise aimless jaunt through the hills for the sheer joy of seeing all that snow. I love snow. When I was younger and my legs stronger and my wallet fatter I liked to ski on it. Now I just like to see it; the whiteness of it, the sensuous rounded humpiness of it; the softness of it as it falls and gathers; the vast quiet power of it as it smooths the angles and artificiality of the landscape. Perhaps it's some glimmer of a Northern race memory, but the combination of ink blue sky and sparkling whiteness is tonic food for my soul.But having said all that, there is another reality for many in my diocese. The snow is a blanket three feet deep over the grass and represents unsought for hardship and the loss of stock and therefore income. It will leave behind it a legacy of mud and death and financial difficulty. I also wanted to feel and know something of that paradox - the power and destructiveness of all that soft beauty

The back road to Naseby was graded but had a fair covering of crumbly ice on top of the gravel so I went slower than intended. The road into St. Bathan's was worse and the little old mining town in the middle of nowhere had a blanket well over a metre deep. The only other traffic was a grader and large farm vehicles towing trailers of feed to the sheep, shivering khaki brown against the whiteness. At St Bathans I waded through powder up to my knees and took the photos. My few hundred metres of walking made me puff and sweat under my several layers of wool; I was grateful for the waterproof qualities of my new walking boots and conscious of what it must be like to work in these conditions for 8 or 10 or 12 hours a day. Then, I drove slowly home through Middlemarch. For most of the way in the early afternoon with the sun blazing down, the temperature varied about 3 degrees either side of zero. The grass won't be showing through for a while yet.

 Now I agree, this post has been a post about nothing really. It has been my own snowstorm, a blanket covering the realities of my life since I last wrote on here. Since the Marriage Hui, there have been so many things I might have reported on, but I haven't because.... there have been so many things. Most importantly, I have been to Sydney to see my son Nick and his beautiful family and see his daughter Naomi baptised. I have been on retreat with the Diocesan Manager, Graeme Sykes and my Vicar General, Erik Kyte and firmed up the implementing of our strategic plan. I have spent a bit of time on Skype talking to Bridget and Noah. I've read a couple of books, one of which I intend to review. Since last posting on here I have been to several of our church communities, attended meetings and services, spoken to many people, bought a new car and driven about 5,000 km in it. I'm sorry not to have told you about all this stuff. The bit about the strategic plan will follow in due course, once the Diocesan Council have had a look at it. It's been a busy few weeks, but in the next little while I will try not to be away so long. Summer is coming.


Elaine Dent said…
Stunning photos!
Merv said…
We get breathless just taggin' along with ya!

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