I wanted to make a beautiful picture in response to Kay’s poem, which so daintily captures a mind’s eye scene for me. On one level.
As we make pictures with many layers of meaning, the layers are there in the poem too, and I guess we will all have had different responses based on our own understandings and experiences. Only Kay will know if I have come close to her intention for our greater understanding but once I looked into it I knew that for me the picture would take on a different significance.
We live close to each other, figuratively and literally. I knew where she would have walked and I wondered what the poem would say to me if I took it to the same place. I had no fixed intent, other than my understanding of the symbolism she has used.
In Rotorua the red billed gulls, Tarapunga, have great significance. It was they that warned the Arawa people on Mokoia Island of the impending arrival of a raiding party of Ngapuhi and are believed to carry the spirits of those that died that day. They are tapu. Their cry is a warning to us.
The freshwater mussel, kakahi, previously a staple of the local tribes is inedible now. A casualty of the pollution of the lake from large scale human habitation and agricultural activities. Rotorua has been host of visitors from the early days, coming to take the waters and wonder at the geothermal landscape. Caring about sustainability and the environment has not always been a big priority for many. The empty mussel shells on the beach are a constant reminder of the fragility of our environment and how the balance is tipped. No more gathering a healthy fresh food source locally.
Walking the lakeshore, I was dismayed. Dismayed that metres away from the shore were houses where a section costs over $600,000, glassfronted faces staring into the distance, ignoring the evidence right under their noses. Littered along the beach, streambrought to the lake edge, wave-driven across the sparkling waters, bottles, cans, bits of plastic, detritis of a consumer driven population. Ignored. As we all do. Wasntmedidntdoit.
That needs to change. Each one of us must take responsibility for the wrongs we observe and take action to build change. To walk out of the room leaving more in it than when we entered. To make a difference. To heed the warnings.