2014 arrived as I danced barefoot on a grassy field at the edge of the Tasman Sea, stars shining bright and the bonfire even brighter. Warmth penetrated my soul from generous people, the sound waves of ambient music and the bottle of bubbly in my hand. Falling asleep as the sun came up and the rain poured down… awaking to sun and perfect stretches of cotton candy clouds I knew it was going to be a good year. Energized by the gifts of nature and deep-hearted people, my path on that first day of the new year took me to the beach. Called me to the ocean, the large stretch of sand, the shells, driftwood and oyster catchers…to collect and create.
Joined by my accomplice, Stephan, we scoured the beach in our foggy, somewhat slaphappy state of mind, settling our sights on the abundance of triangle shells. White. Triangular. Mollusks. Hunting & gathering.
The wet, dark sand proved a perfect background to compliment the stark, pure whiteness of the shell… and what is creating on the beach without the race against the tide? Intuitively moving the shells to observe their interactions, the way they overlayed and intersected, I began my explorations. Circular forms seem to exist within me and desire to emerge. Triangles creating circles. At the start of a new year I began without expectations and avoided symmetry, a perfect visual solution that is pleasing, yet so predictable. I wanted to leave it open for chance, for play, for new perspectives.
As Stephan dozed on the warm dry sand and left me to my inner contemplations I looked to the horizon and to my surprise saw a massive stormy front moving in. So not the tide but a wall of rain and wind would force me to quicken my pace and challenge the typical West Coast weather. I called to my ‘assistant’, who came ambling down and fearlessly aided me in placement, photography and critique. As the first rain drops started to splatter on our barely water-resistant jumpers and thunder boomed in the distance we added the final element, flat stones as markers to hold the open spaces between the shells, to honor the emptiness and let it be.
Running, running as the booms drew nearer to wipe out the blue sky, we laughed and panted. Then as fast as the front approached, its path changed and took a sharp turn to the left, towards magnetic Mt. Stormy. Sheepishly celebrating our good luck we slackened our pace and took in the sun, once again the natural world reminding us of the gift it is and that change is inevitable… to allow room for free and open spaces to invite unexpected pathways to emerge.
Within perhaps 10 minutes of our arrival home a resounding, awe-inspiring hail storm fell upon the tin roofs of Karamea. Stephan and I counted our blessings and then he threw an early summer snowball just for fun.