This Time Last Year ...

On this day last year I was posting photographs of Mount Tongariro erupting because I was back home in New Zealand and had recently driven past that North Island volcano.  On December 1st I had arrived at my sister's house, down in Dunedin, and was catching up with her and her beautiful family for the first time in 8 years.

Eight years can go by in a flash ... and they did.  I was always coming home soon but getting home was a hellishly expensive business.  Fortunately I lack a sense of time passing and, while I longed for  home and family something fierce sometimes, I got by.    I was even more delighted when I discovered everyone still there, where I had left them.  

Old friendships had survived, babies and toddlers had grown, and there was enough good New Zealand pinot noir to make sure I survived how old all the babies were now, and laughter too, making every day there so very special.

I was talking to Dad tonight, harassing him in his 9.30am Monday morning from my 9.30pm Sunday night.  Since I stopped traveling so much I've made a point of startling him with a phone call far more regularly.   He's stopped with his startled, 'Is that you Di??!' and is no longer surprised when he hears my voice from some 16,000kms round the world.  I used to disappear for months sometimes.  It's that time passing problem ... no sense of it.

So anyway, all this to say ... this time one year ago I was home in New Zealand.

I may have even taken the photograph that follows today, precisely one year ago.  Sandra popped us all into her car we wandered off down my beloved Otago Peninsula.  This view, on the way home via the high road, is one that I had always loved.

Immersion ...

I'm finally putting together a presentation series of images taken in New Zealand.

We're seeing the Belgian Bloke's parents tomorrow.  It's Easter and they were curious to see where that son of theirs spent 5 weeks wandering.

It's easier to work on the photographs now that (perhaps) the last of the snow has fallen.  There was a light fall as I headed out into the night last night with my lovely Irish Fiona friend.  Irish is mentioned because I have this forever friend always referred to as, since I was 13, my friend Fiona.  That would be the New Zealand Fiona.

Anyway, I love this photograph.  I took it out on one of those Otago Peninsula roads that we wandered and it's my desktop background for now.


That Desire for Home ...

The desire to go home is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.

Rebecca Solnit.

I used to sit there, near the top of the hill, at the edge.  Located on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, it was a great place to sit and dream about the world ... 6,000kms away from my east coast they told me.

I'm beginning to believe that I'm finally going home ... after 8 years away.  I never imagined, not even for a second, that I would ever spend longer than a year away from this landscape that owns my soul.

But I've looked around while I've been gone ... fallen for Genova, loved Istanbul, live in Flanders, wandered in Cairo and Paris and Amsterdam, Barcelona and Salamanca, Madrid too.  Adored and was awed by Rome, smiled in Naples, survived Berlin.  Enjoyed Ireland and England, France.

But going home ... it's as the quote says, I suspect.