21/6/12 Midwinter, Matariki

It is now midwinter in the southern hemisphere.  The arrival of the shortest day does not mean that the days will get warmer just yet, but they will get longer again...bit by bit.  I welcome that thought - we humans are light responsive creatures and I surely appreciate the light and warmth of the sun. 

Matariki is the Maori name for the group of stars otherwise known as the Pleiades, which appear in the dawn sky at this time of year.  Matariki is also the name given to the celebration of the appearance of these stars and of the new moon at this time - a time for remembering the dead and welcoming new life and growth - a New Year celebration.  It is relatively recently that there has been a revival of the celebration of Matariki.  

Alas, today the sky is thickly clouded and it is raining.  But there is plenty of time for the fireworks, kite flying, planting of trees and other celebrations that will take place around the country over the next few weeks.

Here on the south coast near Island Bay we have been having some big southerly storms.  They bring the cold from Antarctica and they are never boring - dramatic seas swell and crash, depositing seaweed, sand, driftwood and shingle on the roads, washing out and carving in new shoreline shapes, misting the air with salt spray, and curling and foaming and swelling.  We have been sandblasted and whipped by the wind.  Plants are sculpted, people lean against the wind, the seagulls surf the wind.  Then, when the winds change there is a period of blessed calm, even clear skies and sunshine. 

Not a bad place to be!

A natural sculpture of seaweed and driftwood atop the seawall, care of the storm.