One of my Aunties – in her face I see my mother so clearly!
Rotorua, in Aoteroa/ New Zealand, has one of those aromas that you can never forget and which is hard to escape. For me the strong smell of the sulphur is overtaken by an experience that has represented a watershed in the process of doing my thesis. Something I could never have foreseen.
The program in front of me has the words- “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder,” and the speaker is described as an American born Anthropologist whose major study has been in the Mekeo of Papua New Guinea. The theme of the conference is “Arts and Spirituality” and I am presenting some creative writing and story telling workshops on the theme of personal and cultural identity.
I want to meet the speaker before he find out whether he knows much about the village…
I was delighted to receive this photograph of attending an art class in my childhood from our art teacher at that time.
I remember this experience and this jumper so well.
It was one of my favourite jumpers, due to the multicoloured randomness of the pattern, and the soft feel of the wool.
I remember painting a self portrait of myself in the jumper to capture how special it was to me as well, and never forgot it or the painting day.
I think that will be a poem one day for sure.
I have written my early childhood up to when I was twenty and am letting that peculate for a while before deciding where to finish the story of growing up or whether to continue into student hood for my first book.
The Paralympics, in 2000, gave us one of the most precious memories of our life in Sydney.
My husband and I were living there with our two young children (our youngest was not yet born.) We were both looking after them, whilst doing our PhDs at the University of Sydney on scholarships, and had just moved to the inner city.
Obtaining tickets to the Olympic events was hard and expensive. We were on a pretty tight budget. We chose instead to watch the Marathon with some close friends, from the road side (cheering on the world with a banner and chanting ‘World, oi, oi,’ which people joined in with) and watch what we could on television, including the race to stop the Nation, with ‘Our Cathy.’
However, when the Paralympics came along there were many tickets still available and everyone in Sydney was encouraged to support the paralympians as much…
I want to remember what it was like to live out near the cane, on the way to a waterfall, where the wallabies, goannas and bandicoots roam.
We have had wallabies come visiting in the back yard. They run around until they work their way to front gate and hop out again.
The other day we saw a massive goanna with two young ones. She was enormous! I wonder if they’ll be back and what they are eating.
At night the bandicoots keep finding their way under the house, and make a huge racket. Wish we would secure down there better so they would go somewhere else.
One of the saddest things was recently seeing two wagtails lose their baby which fell out of its nest.
We couldn’t take it away from them as they were so distressed and crying, but they also couldn’t take it back to the nest it had fallen from. They hung around for hours before they gave up. The baby bird tried to fly so hard! Not sure where it ended up.
We watched as they kept swooping down and feeding it.
Quandry save it and then release, or let the parents say goodbye to their baby.
We lost a quail to a cat, and its partner who was safe in another cage with a baby, didn’t see it dead, and therefore kept crying for the return of its partner.
We realised we should have just presented its dead partner to it on death’s door for parting goodbyes. Our surviving quail cried for months and months. It used to make me feel so sad for her.
Two of our other quails were eaten by a snake. We saw the bumps in its tummy as the snake collector came and took it away.
I think that’s why I left the baby in the garden for the parents to say goodbye too. The children imagine it was taken back to the nest by magic.
It’s very sad.
When the cane was burned, one side effect was flocks of rats, climbing the trees. Sounds like something for a fantasy novel doesn’t it. I hate rats!! Thankfully I think we’re on top of that issue. Imagine if we had a cat, I am not sure if it would be fat, or rat attacked!
The cruelty, tragedy and joy of natural life.
I am so glad we have guinea pigs! Although we have super proofed their cages to keep the snakes away and worry they might still find a way to get in they are very clever things.
So many words this week for forms and applications but not so much for the blog and stories. Still that is life sometimes and it’s times like these I love to relax on my breaks by looking at images.
Flipping through my files for this blog today I found a sequence of tropical life – reflections in the sand, the relationship between father and son and the palm trees at sunset.
I wonder if I was making up a story about this sequence if there is enough to inspire, or do I need to add a bird to the palms, or a secret somewhere.
My eldest son said to me the other day ‘You should do more staged shots now Mum,’ meaning you photograph the everyday so much, why not try putting things into your images deliberately. Once long ago I used to put gumboots and set up photo opportunities for them. It was fun. I am not sure exactly what he had in mind, but he was thinking big – like a movie set.
Tracey Moffat, who I studied a long time ago when looking at Indigenous film makers in Australia photographs like this. Her photographs are like stage/movie sets and she composes them completely.
I don’t have a studio but I could still find somewhere to stage some work, or maybe borrow or rent a studio to have a go at this. A lady I know is going to let me photograph some of her pottery if I wish and those will be staged shots but perhaps not what my imaginative eldest son is thinking of. I think he is thinking make a story, fictionalise and hyper real the setting, begin to play with it. I’ll have to query him a bit more. Here is an old gumboots4peace photograph whilst I think of it, the days when I set up photographs from my imagination.
(c) June Perkins, all rights reserved on words and images.