20 September 2005

Depressions and highs

The election's over, but the outcome isn't clear; a deep depression hit New Zealand during the last couple of days; and I'm on the road again and feeling high. I cleared everything—the image files for printing; the editing; those last-minute odds and ends—with time to spare; time to enjoy with friends. Now I'm off to the South Island.

The depression was a weather system rather than a psychological state, although some people might feel otherwise. From my perspective, the next week or two until the special votes are counted feels less like a sense of relief and more like time out, but at least the prospect of the country's decline towards a reward-the-rich, beat-the-poor society, where anyone not “mainstream”1 must conform, emigrate or die, seems less likely. At least for the time being.

But enough ranting! Although I still had some image files left to process, I knew I'd get them done in time, so I felt no guilt about joining the celebration for Paul's 40th birthday on Sunday afternoon. A bonus was the venue—The Waterford's a lovely, Celtic cafe/bar only a few km from my place in the Pohangina Valley. I arrived to find it crammed with people and the music about to start. Guitars, fiddle, harp, bodhrain... Willy, having heard that Duncan would be playing, had brought the handmade, wooden Irish flute he'd bought years ago and still couldn't play. Later in the session, Duncan played a beautiful, haunting, piece on Willy's flute, accompanied by Tony's quiet guitar. If that doesn't inspire Willy to get his act together and start learning how to play it, nothing will.

Outside, cold rain; inside, warmth—literal and figurative. It's occasions like that; people enjoying the moment, talking, listening, laughing, sharing; that go so far towards making us human. I suspect you could have found the entire political spectrum inside the Waterford that Sunday afternoon, yet, in that environment, political differences meant nothing. As the election's outcome becomes clearer, I'll be reminding myself of that.

1 As far as I can work out, it seems to exclude women, Maori, anyone in any form of unmarried relationship, anyone receiving any State welfare benefit... well, anyone other than white, wealthy, middle-aged men. Here's Anne Else's view—highly recommended ( and entertaining in a bitter sort of way).

Photo and words copyright 2005 Pete McGregor

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