May 2021

In 1974, my partner and I shifted from the country's largest city to buy a small rural holding on the southern slopes of Mt. Taranaki on which to raise our first-born. It was a place far away from the peopled-world she seemed to choose to shun. The land came with lush vegetation, crisp mountain air, a clear stream, and a disused cottage. The rich soil soon yielded its energy to us through our growing harvest of vegetables and herbs.

I used my developing do-it-yourself skills to provide our home with running water, light, and heating.

afternoon delight—
the love of God
is all about us

The toll of working 12 hour shift rotations daily in the train marshalling yards which were some 12 kms away, and the violent midnight destruction of our chimney by a substantial local earthquake did nothing to lessen our resolve to provide an environment that was acceptable for our child.

Our respective parents soon also moved to Taranaki to be near us. We gathered regularly with them on Sundays. My partner's aunt, who was a world famous novelist soon made the move to Taranaki as well.

Often our conversations turned to our daughter's increasingly alarming detachment from the world, her total lack of any language development, despite our literary preoccupations, while her motor skills developed early. Our heaven-gifted child skipped the crawling stage altogether and moved in a short time from walking, at 8 months of age, to running wherever and whenever she could with no sense of danger and no awareness of her dependence upon us.

mountain fog—
the apple of my eye
slips through my arms