Thursday, 26 August 2010

day 16: nature

i guess i had a burst of energy last night, and managed to get a bit more writing done. i also managed to put up this post at the hand mirror, mostly about how society reacts to things that don't conform to some kind of cultural norm. also i've updated yesterdays post to add women's refuge to the suggestions for positive action - duh, can't believe i forgot to do that yesterday. i guess i had too many thoughts running through my mind.

and to the anon that doesn't want to donate to pakistan, then don't. but please don't leave your nasty comments here, cos i'm not here to publicise your bigotry. it's really quite sad that this was the only response you had to all the issues i raised yesterday, but there you go. as i said in my first post, i don't believe in pity, but i'm seriously finding it hard to not feel sorry for you.

anyway, on to more positive things. today i'm focussing on natural beauty and the environment. i think all of us kiwis are just so lucky in that regard. we get to live in a beautiful, spacious country with spectacular scenery often within our cities and if not, then a short drive away.

i'm lucky to live a 5 minute walk away from the waikato river. we often go for walks down there in the summer. at one place when you're at the rivers edge, you can't see any of the houses and it's like you're not even in the city. it's tranquil, lush green and beautiful. there's a cliff on the opposite shore that adds interest, and some beautiful old trees.

if you walk towards the other direction, there's a lovely wooden walkway that's been constructed through the trees. in years gone by, i'd escape from the house with a book and go and sit by the river. it never failed to soothe a troubled mind, and an hour by the river would give me the strength to go back to face what ever was bothering me.

of course it's a pity that the river water is so polluted that it isn't safe to swim in. it breaks my heart to see that the natural beauty that is our heritage is not being protected as it should. at least environment waikato is taking the clean-up of lake taupo seriously, and that should have some flow-on effects. i also have hopes of the tanui settlement re the river bed, and am hopeful that this will also lead to some cleaning up of the river.

but even closer to home, i talked about my section and garden yesterday. i love the magnolias, the fuschias, the roses. and especially the bright magenta rhododendrons just outside my window. many of the sections in the neighbourhood are really lovely, especially one around the corner which has such a spectacular range of colours and is so beautifully laid out. i keep thinking that i want to knock on the door and thank the inhabitants for giving us this delight. i really should just do it.

i used to work in te awamutu some years ago, and i'd drive there from hamilton every day. it's such a beautiful drive, with some of the best kept farms you'll ever see. there's nothing like the rolling, velvety green hills of the waikato, some of the best dairying land in the country. i love that we have beaches to the east and west at not much more than an hour's drive away - raglan, waihi, mt maunganui. we have so many beautiful walks just out of the city, and of course the ecological island that is mt maungatautari.

we're also not too far away from the coromandel, lake taupo and the snowy peaks of mt ruapehu. there's also rotorua, little more than an hour away, with it's mud pools and beautiful lakes. seriously, i know that hamilton gets a bad rap from most of the country, but where else could you get such a variety of natural beauty in such a short distance?

a few years ago, i decided my girls should see more of the country of their birth, so we did a trip of the south island. i've seen it before, but it's stunning every time. from nelson to the glaciers, milford sound and queenstown, the mckenzie country and aorangi/mt cook, lake wanaka, the kapitit coast. every bit of it is wonderful.

the following year, we travelled up to the far north and had a look around pahia, russell, waitangi, kerikeri, katiai, cape reinga, dargaville, matauri bay. i really love this country, and it is a huge privilege to be here.

i remember quite some years back driving from perth to the margaret rive, in western australia. i just couldn't believe how brown the countryside was, with so few trees. looking at it with my kiwi eyes, i found it incredibly bleak. i've also done the drive from melbourne to adelaide, and again missed the lush greenery that we often take so much for granted here.

i love the seasons we have here. well, maybe not winter quite as much, but spring, summer & autumn, definitely. right now the spring blossoms are out, lining many of our hamilton streets. later it will be the summer flowers, then the yellow, reds and oranges of autumn. a 3 minute drive from my home will get me to the hamilton gardens, with its range of themed gardens. many summer evenings, we'll buy some subway and sit in the indian char bagh garden with the river on one side and the beautiful flowers on the other.

today i think of the people who live in places where there isn't much natural beauty to be found - whether it's the poorer neighbourhoods of a big city, an area suffering from lack of water or some other reason. i think of those people who are losing the natural beauty of their environment due to pollution or industrialisation, or maybe even oil spills.

if you'd like to support envirnomental causes, i'd strongly recommend the maungatautari trust, which i've linked to above. there's also greenpeace, the forest and bird people, the environmental defence society, and keep nz beautiful.

for those who aren't able to enjoy the beauty of nature in the way that most of us can in this country, my thoughts & prayers are with you.


Deborah said...

i know that hamilton gets a bad rap from most of the country, but where else could you get such a variety of natural beauty in such a short distance?

Palmerston North?

Regarding the brown Australian landscape: it took me years to see the beauty in it, but I do now. There's something about the space and the scape, and the glorious terracotta shades, and the dusky green of eucalypts, that moves me soul. When we move back to NZ, I will miss the beauty of Australia, just as when I am here, I long for the deep green of New Zealand.

stargazer said...

nah, i've lived in P/N for about 18 months, and it doesn't have the spectacular and easily accessible beaches on both coasts. and it's much further from rotorua. there is plenty of beauty in and around it, but not the range of difference that you can easily access from here. and really, you can't compare their river with the mighty waikato :P

the best thing i loved about P/N was the straight roads, which i'd go hurtling down like a beetle down a sword, as mr springsteen would say. of course i stick to the speed limit now that i'm a sensible and mature person!

and as for australia, that's why i said i was looking with "kiwi eyes"! i know there's a lot of beauty even in a desert, but when you're not used to that kind of thing, it does look barren. i guess if i'd stayed there for some time as you have, i'd have been able to see it differently.