In this intimate vast mountain
the landmarks are my family’s story
A safe place
even in its wildness
even its ever-present perils are beloved
Our feet know the way
so our spirits are free to go wandering
Gentle layers of noticing and knowing
Repeat repeat repeat
Growing a map of connectivity and love
time space imagination happenings
deeper and richer
as we walk, sleep, walk again –
Huddle against storm
or swim in some gurgling pool under a summer sun.
We name the rivers
We remember our adventures
We notice a diving karearea
or smoky blue mountain orchid
Everything goes into the map
Wasn’t it right by Three Tarn River, that Easter,
that my boot fell to pieces and I had to cross four ridges in just a sock…
Peter met me with another pair of shoes…
Walk, sleep, walk
Heading north, heading south,
knit purl knit
Weaving a family fabric of story and land.
for my mother
I will put up the red tent under my apple tree
and imagine a new world:
Here I am in wild Fiordland again
where the kea cry out their songs of fire and anarchy
ringing from mountain to mountain –
Where the whio coo and clack their haunting love duets
and korimako chime like bells in the misty forest
Where robins sit pertly on my boots
kiwi scream in the night
and owls echo
While here in this world we wait for the daily count of new infections
We queue like sagging puppets for food
Spaced out around the Countdown carpark
passive obedient confined
I will put up the red tent and steal away
The wildlands are still out there
The rivers still run clear
Morning mist still rises
and mountains do battle with the sky
Even the weather must do their bidding
Thick moose moss grows in Fiordland
in the probable absence of any moose
Waterfalls of moss,
Oceans of it (how can there be so much)
Pungent groves of seaweed in the air
A heavy matrix catching water droplets
Like treeish stars
– Look, you’re floating in it –
Wafting in green light, breathing green mer-light
in half-mixed paint pot underworld hues
An inside out pond tentacled with spongy fingers
holding water for the mountain.
Do participate in the activities on offer:
try swamp dancing – balancing on a sinky waterlogged raft – hold those soggy boots upright or whoops – capsized again.
Flop on about the comfy mattress if you like waterbeds
(not so good for finding dropped tent pegs or hair ties ever again)
The moss goes down forever –
reach an entire arm into billowing waves
Will there indeed ever be firm ground?
Dark watery pools and caves hide, depth uncertain,
Snuggled into coves of beech tree bole or craggy bays of roof plate – all gloomed with strange faces and forms
Welcome to Spookers
Dive into the clear cold Iris Burn as it dances puckishly through the story…
but not for long….
Fumble through the layers of fur coat like a Narnia wardrobe
– outcome iffy –
will it be rough granite, slithery root or entish armpit?
Mostly your weight settles on something like mattress springs and you’re on your way just fine…
Ghosts of trees and bits thereof
shoulder in under the minty duvet like piles of dirty washing or a cat.
Half dying or losing arms and legs doesn’t matter much in tree land.
You’re still part of the family, part of the game
no need to feel left out!
But footfall is unpredictable
Lean just there, and it’s into the pit for you!
The seat of my overtrou needs blister tape now – they’ll never be the same.
Oh it’s all a bit tiring by the end of the day –
but here’s a nice sandy river bank for the red tent.
Better hope it doesn’t rain.