Kia ora/Welcome: the last few months have been stressful as I have waited to find out if our house would be rebuilt or demolished as a result of the September earthquakes & the thousands of aftershocks that have shaken the area. On Thursday I got a text from a friend saying a decision had been made & that the entire area of Brooklands had been zoned red. Then a letter from Cera arrived & spelt it out in black & white. This means the township of Brooklands will be abandoned (by April 2013) & eventually all houses demolished. Basically it’s a forced eviction.

When I heard the decision I went into shock. It was totally unexpected. I had come to believe: because of the ongoing delays in making an announcement & because the nearby community of Spencerville had been rezoned green/blue that we would go green/blue. So when I heard the bad news I felt devastated. Gutted. My body shook. I was incensed at the impersonal way (without any pre-announcement) this unexpected & unwelcome decision was dropped on our small earthquake shaken community.

Since the decision I have been slowly coming to terms with the road ahead: with accepting a government offer for our home & land & finding a new home. Yet I don’t want to move on (within myself) too quickly. I want to stay present to the beauty of Brooklands. I want to stay present to the lagoon with it’s wild geese, gannets, spoonbills, kotuku, shags, matuku, kingfisher, black swans, godwits, terns, black backed gulls, oystercatchers, pied stilts, & so much more. It has been such a blessing to live beside a bird sanctuary with walkways to wander to enjoy the natural world. I want to stay present to the beautiful garden I have created: to our 60 odd roses, to my prized dalia’s poking their way through the dry earth, to my collection lilies just beginning their flowering sequence, to the fruit trees with their tiny forming fruit. I want to stay present to our buggered old house that has stood solid & protected us as the earth heaved beneath it. It is battered but not broken. I want to stay present to the community of Brooklands who have stood together, supporting one another, young & old through the shakings we have endured. Not only physical shakings but the shakings as loved ones have died or been injured, as children & old people have been distressed & traumatised, as jobs & business have been lost, & as people have been forced to deal with the impersonal, disorganised & money orientated bureaucracies set up by the earthquake commission and insurance companies… & so, so much more. As my mind moves forward to the ‘where to now?’ question I want to stay present to what is.

I am aware that I set up this poetry site & blog a couple of months ago & have since gone into a writing abeyance. I have continued to sit down weekly & attempted to write poetry. But with the ongoing stress… & also as I’ve worked through a major life transition… writing has been a struggle. I hope those of you who subscribe to my blog will understand why I’ve been so quiet (writing-wise). However many healthy & positive changes have been going on in my life. I’ve taken up laughter yoga which has helped with the stress but has also helped me welcome & integrate the increasing sense of joy & love & hope that is entering my life. Through this difficult & stressful time I have also been aware of the voice & presence of the Self ‘with-me’. I am deeply grateful for this ongoing blessing. The presence & ‘with-ness’ of the Self is my strength & rock.

I pray & hope that you, dear reader, also find your life touched & nourished by the experience of God’s bountiful life both within you & ‘with you’.

With arohanui – Kevin








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