Adjusting to this life ...

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Things I love about this much smaller, quieter, life.

Picking flowers from Dad’s garden and filling vases with them, for here in the house.

Washing my bed linen and drying it outside, although it’s Autumn, more or less.

Breakfast.

… perhaps, I finally have my New Zealand breakfast organised.

I love driving up over Three Mile Hill and into the city.

In every place I have ever lived, there has been a preferred mode of transport, a preferred route … always the prettiest way, where possible.

In Antwerp I rode the trams, avoiding some routes in preference of others. Miss 14 and I, as often as was possible, always chose the prettiest route. In Genova, I eventually worked out I preferred walking. In Istanbul, the metro, never the bus. In Berlin, the same. And in the UK, the Underground, and then the Chatterbus, while living in Surrey.

I think, more and more, I understand that I am simply someone who wants to enjoy every moment possible, even the ordinary moments … as opposed to saving up, believing that holidays are the only time where we savour life and seek joy in the little things like the route.

in reflection, mosgiel.jpg

I have lost, and am in the process of, finding my New Zealand-self. my daughter-self, in these months of moving in with my Dad.

His Dementia/Alzheimer’s gets a little worse every week … I think, sometimes. Other times, he seems to be holding nicely. People who had been watching Dad decline, while he was living alone, say he improved dramatically when I moved in. And I’m sure he did. I think loneliness and boredom, anxiety too, are huge factors in the general well-being of our elderly parents.

He has surprised me with some new ‘thing’ weekly. Most recently, while I was out and about, he phoned to tell me where he was, and to ask me how he would get home. The first time he did it, I was horrified. I thought he’d walked along the street some, and given the condition of his knees, wandering hinted at a whole new level of me needing to be home and watching out for him.

But no, he was looking out through his huge lounge window, telling me the buildings he could see from there. He just didn’t realise he was at home. As he described it, I heard him talk himself back in the Now, and he laughed, saying, ‘This Is my house, isn’t it?!’

So he loses his memory, periodically. Forgets the day, who I am, and where things are. We had a spectacular moment the other day … his pills hadn’t been delivered, he told me on the Sunday. Monday he needed to begin the new series. I was there at the pharmacy, first thing in the morning, only to discover his pills Had been delivered …

So I raced home and began the search, finding them in the linen cupboard, eventually. The same place he, so carefully, put his laundry one day. Forgetting, he accused me of stealing his underpants …

I pick up his medication now. It’s better that way.

But that said, he only has these ‘moment’s, and generally he’s good. And so happy he can still live at home. He shuffles out each morning, groaning over his destroyed knees that can’t be replaced because of his two heart conditions, to get his newspaper and check the world is still there.

And I have to leave him to it, or risk stealing his independence … his reasons for being.

He showers himself, and dresses, with help from the caregivers who come in to put on his pressure stockings.

The care-givers are generally lovely. They give me a little bit of freedom, as I can mostly rely on them. It’s the times when they let me down, usually at the weekend … last minute. I think there are so many out there, needing them.

A little bit of freedom, so strange for this girl who has always tried to wander off and away.

But maybe it’s time I stood still again. I have this book still to write, and it is persistant. I carry it with me where ever I go and so …

So … here I am, like a cat, turning and turning until I can settle down and find that sweet-spot to write. Creating some kind of routine, if that’s even possible, here in this life of mine :-) It’s a much quieter life. I wander alone most of the time but I always have really.

I am learning how to be here.

And sometimes … sometimes I find a little whisper of Genova, and her beautiful ancient caruggi, here in Dunedin, New Zealand.

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What to Remember When Waking by David Whyte, 2013

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk
?

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So Much Love ...

I took this photograph back in August 2016.  

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Today, I saw them again.  I wanted to talk to them, so much.  I walked past them, looking for someone who might speak English and act as a translator.

I met the kindest man.  He agreed, and we asked if I might talk with them and tell a little of their story.

It wasn't possible but it was so beautiful to see them again, and see that same connection between them, as they walked along the street.

Grazie mille, to the guy who translated.  I appreciate it so much.

Two Beautiful Souls...

Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference..              Robert Frank.

a beautiful soul.jpg

I love when I get to work as a photographer.   There is so much joy to be found in the place where photographs happen.

And these guys, they were so kind, in allowing me to quietly follow them around, trying to capture something of their souls via my camera.

another beautiful soul.jpg