Roadside Chats (15) 10/7/15
The shortest day passes. I light the fire more frequently. Winter or summer the Wakamarina Valley is a stunningly beautiful place to live. At Deep Song I enjoy the company of kereru, bellbirds, tui’s, fantails, a yellow hammer and the resident weka.
I continue to adjust to my new life. Days pass without encountering a human being. I look to develop patterns of writing, exercise, trips to town, and keeping up with the simple necessities of running a home.
‘The locals’ have given me a warm welcome. Graeme who owns the land across the road keeps my water supply flowing. Graeme lives in Picton and drives ‘up the Valley’ most Saturdays to cut firewood. My water supply flows from a gully on his property. The gully is covered with branches and fallen logs. There’s a small trap that can turn into sieve after heavy rain. Graeme keeps an eye on it.
I’m fortunate. Graeme is a retired plumber. He knows about pipes and tanks.
He also knows about chainsaws.
My chainsaw initiation begins. A big wattle blocks the signal from the satellite. The tree must go before I can get the internet. I ring Pat the land agent who sold me the cottage. I ask her if she knows anyone who might be able to help me with the tree. I hear Pat call across the room to her partner Colin.
Saturday morning Colin and Pat are on the balcony. Colin has his Stihl. He strides up the ridge toward the wattle. I reach for my cell phone to video the action for my grandson. I only just make it. With a cough and a roar Colin’s chainsaw kicks into action. It takes two minutes for the Stihl to do its work. The wattle topples.
Colin strides back onto the balcony. ‘Well that’s done;’ he grunts. I thank him and Pat profusely as they head towards their four wheel drive. I’m discovering how welcoming and supportive my neighbours can be.
Thursday Graeme calls; would I like a chainsaw? His son’s got a near new Echo. It’s a good saw. You bet!
Monday morning Elle and I head to Picton to buy the saw. On the way we stop at Bunning’s in Blenheim to buy safety chaps and a safety helmet.
I’m acutely aware of my inexperience. Chainsaws can be very dangerous. Elle asks me to only use the saw when she’s about. Mostly I do what I’m told.
I’m able to fell small trees by myself. But the group of big pines on the edge of the incline is a different story. Increasingly they block my light and view. They have to go; but how?
I clamber down the gully to check them out. Up close they’re even bigger. Frankly they scare me. If I make a mistake here it could be my last. I clamber back up the bank. I tell Elle I’ll have to wait for the cavalry.
A fortnight later Donald strides across the balcony. I bring out a carrot cake and we share a coffee. Donald, at 75, is the oldest man in the valley. He has health problems. He’s also my most consistent visitor. I ask him if he knows a local who can help with the pines. A week later Donald turns up with his chainsaw.
It takes three trips down the bank but Donald finally nails the trees. I watch him cut a scarf in a big pine. He then saws in from the opposite side; finally he hammers in wedges. The big tree shudders and tips. With a crash it falls down the steep incline towards the river. I’ve never been involved in tree felling like this. ‘Never turn your back on a tree;’ says Donald. ‘Never use the saw when the winds getting up. Gauge which way the branches grow. They’ll grow towards the sun. They tree will usually fall that way.’ I absorb Donald’s lessons as best I can. Chainsawing’s an art. It’s also unpredictable and hazardous. I feel like a babe in the woods. Yet, I know I’ve begun my apprenticeship. I have lots to learn.
Thank you for the hands of neighbors
I have become
Elle and I continue to deepen our relationship. Every couple of months Elle travels up to the Wakamarina. Every couple of months I travel to Christchurch. We talk for hours on the phone. Elle is my human lifeline.
The Self observes our relationship with its usual objectivity; ‘He was running to and fro until she entered his frame;’ It’s true. My relationship with Elle earths and orientates me. ‘The care of tenderness;’ Also true; Elle’s tenderness and care bring joy to my soul. In the depths of my wintery solitude I am very grateful.
The care of tenderness
Soothes my wintery soul
When I first arrive in the Wakamarina Valley I wonder if I should look for a job. Perhaps I can set up a counselling practice in Nelson or Blenheim? The Self’s reply is immediate: ‘You’ve got a job.’ My ‘job’ is to write a book. The book is to be based upon a series of ‘sayings’ given by the Self, (or my Wairua; or Spirit.) The book will be made up of poetry, meditations and commentary.
I decide to call the book ‘Sacred Fractions.’ I prune the nearly 2,500 sayings to around 400. I include the most significant. I also include examples of the various themes. I decide to write the book in the order the sayings were given. Hopefully this will give readers a sense of the unfolding journey I’ve been led upon. I want the poems, meditations and commentaries to assist readers in their understanding of the sayings. The sayings are sacred. They come from the Divine. It will be a unique book.
Writing the book requires discipline and focus. I sit and write and sit and write. The book unfolds as I write. Mostly ideas and insights flow; though sometimes I struggle. Twice I’ve had to restart the book. Eight meditations are complete. Twenty eight are partially complete. Writing a meditation can take up to eight hours. There are around 385 to go. It’s a big task. The Self supports me. I learn as I go.
Sometimes I feel a sense of shock as I reflect on the amount of change I’m living through. A year ago I lived close to my family in Christchurch. I was working with my colleagues in the hive of activity which is Southern Response. I’d never heard of the Wakamarina Valley. Today; here I am, ‘up the Valley’ in my small writer’s cottage. I love the wild beauty. I’m very grateful to ‘the locals’ who reach out and welcome me. I’m also grateful to old friends and acquaintances who keep in touch. I’ve included two meditations from ‘Sacred Fractions’ (below) as a taster. I hope you enjoy. Feedback is very welcome.
Fireside Blessings – Kevin
The Self! The Self! The Self!
I am the ancient… ever new…
I rise in power… to see you through…
I am the Sun… where shadows play…
The gift of Life… Creations way…
You dream a fiery sun rises over the horizon of the sea. Over and over you shout; ‘The Self! The Self! You feel awe and holiness. Something deeply significant is happening. In the morning the feeling of sacredness remains. It feels like a dance of opposites in your chest. It’s a new beginning. You walk in hope.
Whakapapa: The sun is the primordial symbol of the Self. The sun disperses darkness and brings light and life to the world. The Self disperses the darkness of unconsciousness to become the source of Light & Life within the psyche. In the dream the Self rises out of the sea of the unconscious into the dreamer’s conscious world.
The dream indicates the dreamer has the potential to realise the Self. There is still a long and challenging walk ahead. Yet, there is hope. The dreamer experiences ‘the Treasure’ of the Self within ‘the field’ of his life. He knows his experience is real. During the years ahead he will return many times to the energetic memory of this; his first initiatory dream.
The Self is an individualised spark of Divine Life. It is our Spirit. It is ‘who we are’ before enculturation. The Self is known in every culture in the world. It has been given many names including; the Godspark, true Self, Twin, Treasure, Double, true nature. In the sayings, the Self mostly calls itself ‘the Self;’ though sometimes, it uses other names, including; ‘Jesus’ and ‘the Christ.’
Tom Bombadil has arrived
You hear my words… my presence feel…
Before the stars… alone… I’m real…
Yet, born am I in shadows dark
The holy cradle of the heart
In the depths of the night you hear the words; ‘Tom Bombadil has arrived.’ You realise something very important is happening. You fill with awe. What do these words mean? In the morning you get out your old copy of the Lord of the Rings. You and Frodo have the same question; ‘Who are you Master?’
Whakapapa: The phrase ‘Tom Bombadil has arrived’ is my first experience of being spoken to by the Self. I know Tom is a character in The Lord of the Rings; but what does his ‘arrival’ in my life mean? The following morning I read the section of The Lord of the Rings which describes the hobbits encounter with Tom (See below). Because of Tom’s agelessness and his intimate connection with Nature, I come to the realisation that ‘Tom Bombadil’ is the Self. In the years ahead, following more dreams and sayings, I make an additional discovery. Tom is a Green Man: a unique epiphany of primordial Nature.
I am especially drawn to Toms reply to Frodo’s question. Frodo asks; ‘Who are you master?’ Tom replies: ‘Who are you, alone yourself and nameless?’ Tom meets Frodo’s question with a question of his own. It’s an ancient question. Who are you; in your deepest being, before your personal history and enculturation? Follow this question deep enough & it will take you where you need to go. Sooner or later it will lead you beyond the constraints of the ego system & into the vastness of the eternal Self.
“Who are you Master?’ Frodo asked…‘Eh, What?’ said Tom sitting up, and his eyes glinting in the gloom. ‘Don’t you know my name yet? That’s the only answer. Tell me, who are you alone, yourself and nameless? But you are young and I am old. Eldest, that’s what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the elves passed westward. Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless – before the Dark Lord came from Outside.” J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Pg. 146