On Friday I went out to Onoke Spit which is south of Lake Ferry on the South Wairarapa Coast with Steve and Maggie Mae.
It is a narrow strip of land between Lake Onoke and the sea and is a special conservation area where several species of native sea birds breed and there are various types of native flora unique to the area.
This was the first time for several months I have been out to the sea and it was invigorating and calming to be there. I had read that there was the remains of a shipwreck on the spit and I was keen to see it.
When we walked over from the car to the seaward side of the spit the southerly wind became stronger and I could feel my nylon jacket flapping and battering around my ears. The sun was shinning but there was a bank of clouds coming in over the southern headland.
The spit stretched up ahead of me towards Lake Ferry and I knew we had to walk for an hour before we would be anywhere near the shipwreck.
As I walked I realised I had forgotten how much there was to see, and hear and feel. No other people walking or fishing, the only people we saw, the whole time we were there, was a couple heading north past us on a four wheel drive vehicle.
I love finding patterns in the sand, man-made and natural. The stones are "au natural"
There were groups of different sea birds on the sand - gulls and small terns as well as black backed gulls.
And swarming over the sea I could see sheerwaters making their way south, later I would see them coming north.
And birds in the sky swirling and calling above and around us.
And this, I watched it, waiting for it to get closer to the shore, thinking it was a large piece of wood washing in to shore on the tide. Then we both watched it and Steve decided it was a seal and it did appear to move as if it was alive. It seemed to roll over and then put it's 'head' up out of the sea and disappeared. I think now it was probably a basking shark feeding on plankton not far from the shore. What do you think?
We cut across onto the top of the spit looking for any signs of a shipwreck and not knowing exactly what to look for.
The Agenda (Addenda) foundered in 1904 with no loss of life and this is what remains. She was an American barquentine built in 1895, a four masted sailing ship. What you can see are the iron hull fasteners.
On the top of the spit there are wind swept plants, drift wood and the nesting places of some New Zealand seabirds such as the Caspian Tern and the Banded Dotterel. In the spring dogs and people are not welcome on the spit near the nesting birds.
A wonderful day, followed by late lunch at Everest in Featherston - a hot pie and chips to warm up. Even though the sun shone it was a bit chilly as the sky clouded over.
After thinking and reading and thinking about my solid fabric stitching and why I might have done that I have come back to the old self confidence trick and self belief. I am back working on a "Sticks and Stones" series which are much more mine.
In this series I am thinking about life and memory and how a memory can be shaped by later events and can become a false memory. And as I add layers of paint, stitch, sand and mend the memories can change and become more or less hurtful. "Sticks and Stones" was a very common response in my family.
And the pieces take more thinking and effort than doing something someone else has done before. Each piece is 4" X 4" square and is made from pieces ripped from a cotton sheet after it was painted with bituminous paint.
And I have learned that people, mostly women, darned and mended fine fabrics etc with human hair.
I haven't decided yet how to stop "a rush of blood to the head". I still have my bin of solid fabrics and my stitched stripes, I still have some of my books that led me off on a tangent, I still have times when I think what I am doing is not good and, maybe, this is always going to happen.
I would love to know how you avoid "a rush of blood to the head". Or do you just let it happen? For now I want to keep working on this series and ignore distractions.