Today the ground shook again. Mountains fell and rivers were stopped. I watched the pictures of the wrecked roads, all of which I have recently driven. I saw the fearful people and heard the perpetual question.
This is where I live, the South Island. I was born here. Most of my family live here and those that don't wish they did. When the word "home" is uttered, it is images of mountains and lakes and beech forest and tussockland that come, unbidden, to mind. These are the places which formed me and which hold me.
And today we are reminded that it is all so beautiful because it is all so dangerous. Below our feet a couple of vast slabs of rock are floating on top of a seething sea of slowly boiling magma. They are grinding against each other as the currents move slowly but inexorably below them. Where they meet, they course together, jostling and pushing each other skyward in a jagged seam which forms the mountains and the lakes, and from which flow the braided rivers. They strive, and lock and let loose in those periodic shudders which form our middle part of Pacific's Triple Star. Well, all of them, actually.
Cromwell town and Lake Dunstan
It is all so spacious. And so still. Or so it seems to us, only because we exist in such a different timescale, with such a different set of perspectives. In fact the land is as alive and as mobile as a cat.
This too shall pass. These trees and the lake which feeds them. When we look at our nurturing and exacting land we are looking at ballet, not sculpture.
What a gift to be here, even if the fare for this journey is a periodic reminder of the fatal power which formed our land and forms us.
St. Kilda Beach, Dunedin