Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ten things about myself, shots of Nevis Valley, and insights from Leonard Cohen

Following on from a recent post by my friend Marg, I'm copying her playful idea of publishing 10 things about self. In this case I'm interspersing my points with landscape photos from the rather large batch made last weekend. No comments - they're all about the wonderful landscape in the Nevis Valley again.

1] When I hear a song I really like for the first time, I'll have it repeating for days non stop [iPod helps achieve this].


2] Apricot jam and cheese in a white bread sandwich can be compelling at certain times in my life [this seems to shock some people].


3] When I expect the unexpected, or expect serendipitous things to happen, they always do [makes going out the gate, much more fun].


4] I like living in cold climates, but short daylight hours I struggle with [so I've learnt to like the dry heat that shimmers in Central Otago - this seems to balance out the aforementioned conflict in winter]


5] I don't fully understand rugby at the level most New Zealanders do [smiling and nodding gets me by].


6] I like washing dishes by hand [this seems to shock some people, but I find it relaxing].


7] I have one leg half an inch shorter than the other [therefore traversing hillsides on the contour line should be easier one way than the other, but it's not].


8] I'm not a keen conversationalist just after getting up in the morning [I hide behind food and a drink to avoid conversations]


9] Having my birthday just six weeks after Xmas always seemed unfair as a child [the rest of the year was a desert present wise].


10] I was born during a "heat wave" [does this tie in with point 4!?]


As per point [1] above, my song of the moment is Heart With No Companion by Leonard Cohern:
I greet you from the other side
Of sorrow and despair
With a love so vast and shattered
It will reach you everywhere

And I sing this for the captain
Whose ship has not been built
For the mother in confusion
Her cradle still unfilled

For the heart with no companion
For the soul without a king
For the prima ballerina
Who cannot dance to anything

Through the days of shame that are coming
Through the nights of wild distress
Tho' your promise count for nothing
You must keep it nonetheless

You must keep it for the captain
Whose ship has not been built
For the mother in confusion
Her cradle still unfilled

For the heart with no companion ...

I greet you from the other side ...

I find the lyrics compelling... feel a message in them that mirrors feelings deep in my heart and experiences in life - 'nuff said though, as it'd be a big essay to explain.

Maybe his ability to compose and perform in such a way that can be matched by a wide range of life's experiences is a hallmark of all his work, like many say.

I discovered Leonard's song on Friday night when I accidentally found myself watching him and his wonderful band on a DVD lent to me. I was mesmerised by his humility while accepting applause - I watched it over and over realising I was not only seeing that, but compassion at work of the deepest sort.

Having slept on that next morning I went to pick up a fresh muffin at Soul Food for Dougal and myself for a breakfast treat, and noted one of my friends Karen who works there was back from holiday. I asked her where she'd been. She replied "Oh, in Christchurch to see Leonard Cohen"!

So as per point [3] above!

And I did not even know Leonard was performing there. Karen confirmed what I'd noted in the video, and a bit more besides.

All good, this serendipitous stuff!

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Blogger Gregor Ronald said...

Great photos, but I'll swap your birthday for a Boxing Day one if you want. It'll make me 6 weeks younger, too!

November 8, 2010 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
Brilliant photos, the information about yourself you caption each one with adds to the photo somehow. Very enjoyable.
I would have loved to have seen Cohen in Wellington but alas, did not. Those opportunities will not roll around tto often.
The caption on your leg made me laugh, not about your leg, but reminded me about how when I was out west in the domain of the grizzly bear, and old hand told me that grizzies have shorter front paws, so if being chased NEVER run uphill, always down as the shorter legs will cause them to lose their balance and tumble. Still not sure if he was pulling my leg so to speak, but glad in any case I never had to find out. Have a great week my friend.

November 8, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Gregor

Yes of course the birthday/Xmas clash would have been more extreme.

It was interesting what said about skiing at the Southland Ski Club hut as a teenager with your uncle the 1930s Alpine Club veteran.

Awakino was a bit the same in that I too used: "traversing till you crashed, rolling over, repeat in opposite direction" as a technique.

Given the huge popularity this year of the extreme length rope tow at Tekapo and the continuing propensity of the Nevis Saddle to be the preferred landing place for many snowflakes, I wonder if we'll see some development again of this area? I must try and go ski touring there next season, or as Owen used to suggest x/c the whole of the Nevis valley [which is a long way to break trail!]



November 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Robb

Glad you enjoyed the captions. I wondered if they'd be perceived as related to the random images.

I was just talking to another concert goer and he remarked the Leonard Cohen concert in CHC attracted a wide cross section of society - age and otherwise, and that the whole experience was just magical.

I had a laugh about a bear possibly tumbling downhill. But it's not a theory I'd like to test!

I do know that the fastest thing I've seen go downhill through scrub and bush in NZ is a wild boar. Unbelievable in fact. Sure they would not seek to harm us like a bear might, but if chased by dogs it might be a different case, and those razor tusks would be deadly.



November 8, 2010 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Marg said...

Great post Donald. THE photos and captions work well together I am totally with you on a number of points - the dishes, early morning conversation habits among others. Cheers Marg

November 9, 2010 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Shirley Goodwin said...

I agree that this is a great post, Donald. If you're feeling serendipitous, project a wee bit my way, as I've been short of this lately.

November 10, 2010 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Marg

The self revealing idea I copied off of you seems to have struck a chord with a few folk.

Might have to try it again!

In a funny way I found it a little challenging.



November 10, 2010 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Shirley

Funny how the captions have worked. I gave the relationship between them and the photos zero thought. Actually I did think of it, but put the whole idea in the too hard basket. I guess it shows how we can all make relationships in our heads - probably a good thing!

However I did order the photos a bit so similar are not lumped together, so maybe that helped. Not sure what order my brain organised for the captions!

Checked out your blog earlier. Loved all the colour!



November 10, 2010 at 7:10 PM  

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