17 February 2009

Forty percent of real life

Fly, vine, twine

A smell contains worlds.

This morning the kitchen smells of jasmine and sandalwood and lapsang souchong tea, smoke tinged with piney resin, a glimpse of a mountainside in a strange land, in a time alive in a stranger's deep memory. Old, crazy poets drinking alone in cloud forests, laughing at reflections in mountain streams, waiting to follow the fast flight of birds as they disappear around the mountain, beyond those great, mist-wreathed cliffs, on beyond knowledge into oblivion.

Outside, the quiet dawn smells of dry grass with the night still in it. Of deep summer, a promise of heat, a memory of years long gone, an old hare running through long dry grass over an empty skyline; yellowhammers rising from lichen-covered fence posts and slipping sideways on the wind, off towards some small peninsula bay Nor'wester over Godley Headwhere the surge heaves up mats of writhing kelp and smacks against old volcanic rock. Among the boulders on the small beach one finds a washed up float bleached almost white, a scrap of fishing net tangled in dried wrack, a cloud of shore flies rising from the shrivelled corpse of a kahawai. No one lives here and few visit. A sway-backed horse on an empty hill; a line of broken macrocarpas where sheep camp in the dust and cough in the night like old men with ruined lungs; where possums hack and hiss. At night, the gibbous moon shines on the sea and ghosts sleep on the shingle beach.

A smell contains worlds. I step into a pantry, into the smell of apples, and I'm eight again; a woman walks by on a Wellington street and a wisp of perfume wraps around the past and hauls up an ache I thought I'd released years ago.

Yet, for all its power to evoke and recall, it's the forgotten sense. You who read this do so using your vision; a few might listen with the aid of a text-to-speech program. What your computer can't do is deliver the smell of this kitchen or of the ground outside, damp from new rain. Nor, for that matter, can it convey the feel of the keys under my fingers and the humid warmth of that sub-tropical air on my skin ( a strange, complex system of fronts is swamping much of Aotearoa right now). Nor can I share over the Internet the utterly distinctive taste of that slice of watermelon, cold and crisp and sweet.

The number of our senses is disputed, but the traditional five will do for now. Five, and the Internet delivers two. Forty percent of real life? Perhaps. The detail could be disputed, but the point remains — life cannot be lived fully online.

I walk away from the computer, pick up an apple and go outside to sit on the verandah. Jimmy saunters over and brushes against my leg; I run a hand along his fur and it feels warm and soft beneath my palm. He puts his front paws on my knee and when I bend towards him he dabs his nose on mine — a momentary touch, a greeting. He smells of fresh hay. He licks my hand; Blue baler twineI feel the soft, rough tongue rasp my skin. The apple crunches crisp and juicy between my teeth.

I suppose one could argue books suffer the same sensory shortcomings as the Internet — even more, perhaps, because a book (generally speaking) utters no sound. Moreover, many books lack photos or other graphics; the reality those books attempt to convey relies on fewer senses than perhaps any other form of communication. Even vision, the only sense with which they reach out to us, reveals on the face of it a strange, complex pattern of black and white lines and arcs, a geometry from which we somehow make not mere sense, but meaning. How is it then, that the best books convey reality at least as adroitly and often better than media that offer more sensation?

Perhaps books achieve this by forcing us to engage imagination. With no real sensory input we must turn to our own experience, our knowledge of our senses — what it's like to drink lapsang souchong tea on a humid, misty morning or stroke a cat. What an apple tastes like; or a slice of cold watermelon. Show us those things in a photo and we relax, we let vision take over, but if we could do that with a book, “watermelon” and “cat” would be hieroglyphics. Having learned to read, we automatically imagine the melon and the cat; the words instantly invoke our imagination, which responds and creates the objects.

I overstate the case, of course. Exceptions can be found — for example, powerful films rely strongly on vision and sound, and can transport and transform us; and books, no matter how strongly they conjure worlds, are no more real life than is the virtual reality of some regions of the Internet — but here's my challenge. Find a photo you like and try to smell it. Touch it. If you're game and don't mind ruining your monitor, you could even try tasting it. I guarantee none of those sensations will correspond to the smell, feel, or taste of what you see in the photo.

So, just for a while, step away from that screen. Remember this when you're reading that book, and close it (mark the page, though). Then make a cup of tea (real tea with leaves), or stroke the cat (or pat the dog) or step outside, or do the whole damn lot, and pay attention to all your senses.

Particularly the sixty percent you've just been neglecting.

Red deer


Notes:
Writing seems to have been particularly difficult lately. However, I have no intention of giving up.
Photos (click to enlarge them):
1. Vine and twine; textures from a garden fence.
2. Nor'wester over Godley Head, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury. January 2009.
3. More selective vision from the same garden.
4. Deer have poor vision, although they're good at detecting movement. Their hearing, however, is phenomenal, and their sense of smell is beyond comprehension. While walking to mid Pohangina hut on the first day of the whio survey just before last Christmas, I heard something moving in the forest. I stayed perfectly still and waited, knowing the wind was blowing from the sound towards me. A hind stepped out of the bush, browsed slowly past me and wandered off up the track. I paced out the distance. She'd walked within ten metres of me. If the wind had been going the other way, she'd have known I was there if I'd been a kilometre away. [These are captive deer; one of the delights of living here.]

Photos and words © 2009 Pete McGregor

56 comments:

Anne-Marie said...

Glad to see you're writing again. I love the sense of smell; I love how it seems to have a mainline to the emotions, the memory, just as you described.

Arohanui.

Maureen and Eric said...

Pete, I read your post aloud tonight savoring each and every word. You possess magic. You are my favorite writer (in the 40% of my world). Thank you.

The Clandestine Samurai said...

Yeah.

Reading takes a lot more work to be engaged in, which is why a lot of people just settle for T.V. and other electronic media.

But books are much more rewarding.

Relatively Retiring said...

I'm so glad you haven't given up on the writing. This is a very thought-producing post, as ever.
For all my professional life I have worked with sensory-deprived people. Technology can do so much for impaired vision, hearing and touch, but nothing (as far as I know) for the interlinked senses of smell and taste.
Smell is so powerful in memory. There is some interesting work done in its use in the learning process...but I think that's about it. Hopefully some of your readers will be better informed?

Beth said...

Excellent points for all of us who spend a lot of time online. I've been feeling this way too, without being able to put it into words...interestingly, the sense of smell looms large in the books I've been reading, von Doderer's 2-volume "The Demons." Smell does trigger memories but it also intensifies present experience. I'd miss it terribly - and one reason winter feels less vivid in the north, perhaps, is that there just seems to be less to smell outdoors, so the interior smells of food and fire become much more important. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Pete.

pohanginapete said...

Kia ora Anne-Marie. Nga mihi aroha ki a koe. Hope you're enjoying the smells over there — all that eucalyptus and roo poo and so on... ;^)

Maureen and Eric, thanks! That's a wonderful compliment, and it encourages me greatly. :^)

Samurai, I agree whole-heartedly — a good book offers rewards TV etc. just don't seem to be able to deliver.

Thanks RR :^) I've often wondered how I'd cope if I lost one or more senses. Personally, I find the prospect of blindness too hard to contemplate, and wonder how I'd ever survive without losing my mind. But I think people with hearing disabilities have a particularly difficult time because a too-common reaction is to respond to a person with a hearing disability as if they're intellectually disabled.

Beth, a book entitled "The Demons" sounds interesting! Hmm... I wonder what a demon smells like? Not too savoury, I imagine ;^)

Bob McKerrow said...

Thank God Pete, the man in the corner has gone. But has he really, there's a bit of him in me and you, bet on it !

Such inspiring writing Pete and superb photos.

I agree, walk away from the computer and sample other things, and use our other senses. This damn computer is necessary, and can imperceptably become an evil if we don't keep it in check. It's like the man in the corner and his love for alcohol, but does he know when too much, is too much.

When I walk away from my computer I walk into a collection of 500 books, and I have to struggle to walk past them just to get outside and see the trees, the flowers and the sky, in a city of skyscrapers and squalor. Where is the justice and equity in this world ? The poor on the streets have too much fresh air or polluted air that makes them ill, and we spend too much time indoors in front of these stupid screens.

How I long to write someone a letter with an fountain pen, fold it and seal the envelope, write the address on the front and lick the stamp and dream of how it will get to its destination. But maybe its quicker to sit in front of the screen and bang out an email or just lazily put a few glib words on the comments section of your blog. Perhaps I should learn to lick my computer and send it away somewhere ?

Julie said...

I have heard several people discussing the downside of the internet recently, how Facebook is destroying young people's ability to communicate and empathise with others in the real world, how time spent in a 2-dimensional worldin front of a screen is changing the wiring of our brain cells, I think it's time I stepped out of cyberspace and back into reality for a while!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

so great to have you back and as poetic as ever. I so agree with you about smells evoking memories.

Fantastic prose and i love the photos. This is definately a post i will come back to and read again

Relatively Retiring said...

'I'd rather be deaf than blind,' they say,
But I'd rather not be daft, myself.
You can get white sticks and hearing-aids,
But you can't get brains on the National Health.

Unbelievably, word verification is 'verses'!

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Bob! That's an interesting point about writing by hand. Recent research using fMRI has shown that our brains work differently when we're writing by hand compared to typing. Mind you, I could have told them that. Actually, I know several people who still hand-write letters, and they're wonderful things to receive.
(Sorry I missed you in Christchurch, Bob. I think I was arriving as you were leaving... ah well, another time and place, I trust.)

Julie, it's curious you should mention your finding those discussions. After writing this post, I too have come across some. I suppose I might simply be more aware of them now, but it's still interesting to think some kind of reactionary movement might be starting. However, I'm not about to ditch (or diss) the Internet; for all its faults it has huge value. It's just a matter of keeping a healthy perspective, I guess.

Pixie, thanks! I'm honoured :^)

RR, that's wonderful! It cracked me up. Don't hide it away in these comments — post it on your blog :^)

Avus said...

Nice to have you back, Pete. Please, never give up the blog, you would be missed so much.

I understand that the sense of smell is governed deep down in a section of our primal brain, which is why it is so evocative, I guess. I know of nothing else that can transport one instantly back in time.

Thanks, as usual, for your wonderfully expressed meditations.

MB said...

...life cannot be lived fully online.
Thanks for a lovely meditation that is about to propel me outdoors.

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Avus. The writing's difficult partly because of external influences, but I can't claim those pressures as an excuse. I will persevere! I'm grateful for the encouragement from you and the other commenters — it helps, greatly. :^)

MB — yay! Have a great time out there, and thanks :^)

Patry Francis said...

I haven't gotten out to smell the dawn in so long that I can almost weep at the memory, but I did smell some wonderful soup today.

Like everyone else, I'm glad to see you writing again. It's not always easy; life intervenes and all that, but I always leave here a little more alive than I was when I arrived.

pohanginapete said...

Patry, thank you — and great to see you back, too. I love that thought in your last sentence; it encourages me greatly.

I trust that soup tasted as good as it smelled :^)

Gustav said...

Howdy Pete

I have been again wandering through your photos "Ruins of the Moment". I submit that creating words can be difficult for us all, even for the greatest of writers and poets.

Your photography says it all in many ways. You have an internal lense, an eye for beauty that makes me stop, absorb and ponder.

Your photos are an inspiring testament to the beauty around us. So if writing may be difficult for you please keep the pictures flowing.

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Hi Pete

Your essay on a profound topic is beautifully written. You have done a splendid job in exploring the theme. Come to think of it we really have lost our taste buds and scents. I tend to believe that commercialism and the new media are the main culprits. Why, the other day as I was taking a loaf of bread from the supermarket's shelf my mind flashed back and I yearned to capture the authentic smell of bread that came from my grandmother's homemade loaves. You go into the bakery section of the supermarket and there is no scent coming from those bakery delights not even when the package is opened. Good grief we have lost our authentic scents in every sense of the word? Would experiential learning correct the damage? Then again, how can one retrieve authentic scents when the DNA of our food stocks have been altered? Perhaps, I'm off track here but this blog got me thinking and perhaps too deeply. Yes, indeed, I do concur that outdoor pursuits are the answer in helping us regain our scents and senses.

I found much delight in reading your words complemented with awesome photos. Thank you Pete, for sharing them.

Cheers
Paterika

pohanginapete said...

Gustav, thank you. I'll keep posting photos, and I'll always write, even if I sometimes go through dry patches. I appreciate your feedback and encouragement. Cheers!

Paterika, thanks for your thoughful comment. That's a good point about the smell of bread — when it's authentic (not that repulsive, chemical stench that SubWay pipes out onto footpaths) it must be one of the most delicious smells of all.
Actually, while getting outdoors into the real world of trees and mountains, sky and sea and so on offers the best opportunities to appreciate all our senses, it can be done anywhere. All it takes is attention — real attention — to where we are. Cheers Paterika.

Peregrina said...

Come to my place next time you're down this way, Pete (and Paterika, too, should you ever come to these parts), if you want to smell bread cooking, then stay to lunch to eat some - warm, crusty, and most more-ish. Only give me a day's warning, because it takes about four hours to get it to the just-coming-out-of-the oven stage and I'd need (ha-ha) to start early. My grandmother, who'd had to make her own bread for her family when she lived way out in the country, taught me, and I've made it pretty regularly ever since.

pohanginapete said...

It's a deal Peregrina! Ah, fresh bread... :^)

Yum.

christy lee-engel said...

Dear Pete,

This provocative post has been in both the front and the back of my mind all week.

After gazing at the photos and listening to the words mixing with my own thoughts, I did close my computer, first to look out the window a while at my little fruit trees and bird feeders, then to step out in the grey and drizzly day for a bit.

I've read your words aloud to a couple of friends (and showed them the photos too of course!) and it's inspired some good & thoughtful conversations - one of them punctuated with deep inhalations of the fragrance rising from our teacups, plus a little humming and singing.

Your words have gotten me to pay just a little more attention to wherever it is that I find myself, whether inside or out, and especially to what it smells like right now (at the moment: tangerine peels and some flowers in the next room that are starting to decay in the vase)

So that is a bit of one of the ways that your thoughts have themselves kind of walked out of a computer and landed, physically and sensorily, to become re-embodied far from the place of their origins!

Thank you Pete!

pohanginapete said...

That's wonderful, Christy! I'm delighted the post got you and your friends thinking and talking — and paying attention to the often-neglected senses. Ironic that it should have been prompted by words read on the very technology I pointed the finger at.
Your comment has given me a great start to my day. :^)

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Kia ora for the reminder. Interesting how your words have kicked off a very eclectic response, books, senses, reading aloud, writing letters, and real food. Seems to be a lot of that thought going around.
Cheers,
Robb

pohanginapete said...

Cheers Robb. Mind you, with the weather looking the way it is for the weekend, I think a lot of us will be settling down in front of a computer. Then again, maybe it's an incentive to hunt up a good book!

Di Mackey said...

Your words summoned up memories of all those smells of home, so badly missed sometimes here in this new life in Europe. And summoned them powerfully.

Beautiful writing, stunning photographs, I'm glad I found your blog.

pohanginapete said...

Di, thank you, and welcome home :^)

Lydia said...

Luscious writing and photography. The deer photo is quite likely the best B&W animal shot I've ever seen.

Regarding photo, Di's latest post sent me here.....yet I knew I'd seen your photo before. But where? Ah! At Pixies blog, of course. I sure took my time getting here and now I can only lament at what I've missed.....

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Lydia :^) I'm really encouraged by your comment. And no need to lament — it's all there, waiting!

christy lee-engel said...

So glad, by the way, that you are writing and intend to continue regardless of challenges.
Because, it is indeed ironic, & skillful, and helpful, and fun, that through your thinking and writing and photos you are able to use this part-way unembodied technology to point the way home to the life of the body!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

pete - as promised, i came back and read this again and was swept away into your world.

There's some fantastic turns of phrase here and i really enjoyed the second half. I think a book benefits over a film in some ways precicely because in a book we are forced to imagine for ourselves and all the CGI in the world can never match the human imagination

Plus - i agree with the quote from Buffy (TV ironically) where Giles says that books are more hands-on, more "smelly" so we get the additional emotional response we wouldn't get from a computer screen. Whether this will change with the new computer literate generation remains to be seen.

So glad i took the time to digest this fully xx

herhimnbryn said...

Ah, Pete, what a wonderfully evocative post.
Apples and perfumes and the fur of an animal......
I shall take your advice, my tea is nearly finished, the sun is up and the hound is waiting for his walk......

pohanginapete said...

Christy, it would be easy for me to use the current pressure of contract work (and pro bono environmental work) as an excuse for tardiness in writing; however, I'm not prepared to do that. Writing's hard — for me — but it doesn't get easier by not doing it.

Pixie, it's a real honour that you should re-read the post. Thanks! You're right about real books, too. I'm often struck by how different it is to read a book compared to reading anything on a monitor, and in that vein I'm also convinced the psychology of writing by hand with a pen on paper differs hugely from writing by typing on a keyboard. Besides, I have to catch thoughts when they arrive, and if I didn't scribble them onto paper, I'd lose most. Sitting at a keyboard can generate thoughts, but walking or cycling's far more productive (even then, it's difficult to stop, pull out a pen and notebook and jot down the thought).
Thanks. You've got me thinking ... ;^)

HHnB, ah, walking with a dog (I almost mistyped that as 'god' — but maybe it wouldn't have mattered). I occasionally (and surreptitiously) 'borrow' one of farm dogs for a short walk, and her joy at being able to race around transfers to me.

Sky said...

what a wonderful post, one that stopped me in my tracks. it will send me out tomorrow for a longer time in this new sunshine we are having here in the pacific nw following our winter rains. it is so easy to get lost in the travels of on-line searches, surfing, and/or readings. spring will pull me outside into our gardens, will seduce us into road trips and adventures. your post has emphasized how much we miss when we forget to really LIVE 100% in our present and "real" lives.

my acutely sensitive nose can bring me great joy or make me want to run away! but, i would be lost without the ability to identify smells or to be transported in time by familiar fragrances of past days. how could i live without the fragrance of stargazer lilies or recognize the smell of the earth soaked by falling rain? i would miss the permeating smells of turmeric and other indian spices filling our kitchen and the sharp but satisfying smell tomatoes produce at the moment they are pulled from the vine. cedar mulch and cedar branches, jasmine climbing its trellis, lilac blooms, the salty ocean air - so many smells we depend on for identification along life's highway, for joys remembered, and joys newly discovered.

sending my hubby over to read this post. it is so beautifully written that i found myself grabbing onto words and phrasing, re-reading some just to paddle around in the experience again. i will send a link to several.

pohanginapete said...

Sky, that's a lovely comment — thank you :^) Interesting you should have mentioned smells that also affect me particularly strongly — tomatoes, cedar, oceans, for example. You've just added to the store of memories to be recalled when I encounter those smells again.

Brenda Schmidt said...

Wonderful post, Pete. I echo the previous comments.

As far as writing goes, I hope the difficult period has passed. I always have to work at being patient with myself during such times. After all, the words will come.

vegetablej said...

Oh, deer!

You'd better NOT stop writing. Probably the fact that it's hard is why it's so good. Anyway, these last posts are so wonderful they're well worth waiting for, and read with thanks.

:)

pohanginapete said...

Brenda, I know the words will come (I've been writing long enough), but it's good to hear it from other writers. Thanks. :^)

VJ, true — and I think it gets harder after having written well; it seems like more pressure to maintain a standard. A famous person — I think it was Auden — once remarked it was vital for writers to write badly, because the moment they start thinking eveything they write must be good, they won't write anything well. But, I still appreciate the encouragement. Thanks!

butuki said...

Maybe because I'm feeling particularly sad today this post really evoked the grief of having lost the woman I love recently. So much of what she and I shared had to, out of necessity by distance, be experienced through the internet. I'm quite certain that if I could have been there beside her (as I was trying so desperately to do) I could have showed her by touch and my ability to quietly sit beside her and listen to her that everything was okay. As it was, partly out of the inadequacy of writing emails and attempting to show affection through chatting, I very much had no chance of making the relationship work. I needed something real with her. It's been very hard for me to really engage with my blog and online things since then, though I'm trying to keep from letting it take my spirit down. On one level I feel a deep, irrational anger at the internet... on the one hand it made it possible for me to meet Y., on the other hand it help to take her away from me...

pohanginapete said...

Miguel, I know of nothing more difficult than losing someone you love; 'grief' doesn't even express half of it. Moreover, just as words can't adequately express love, so they can't provide adequate consolation for those bereft. Yet, at the same time, the gesture of words can be great comfort not because of their apparent content but because of the intention underlying them. And, sometimes words are all we can offer or receive. An online community or friendship might fail to express what makes us truly human, but it can lay foundations and draw us closer nevertheless. I'm closer to you and other friends I've never met in person than I am to the people over the fence where I'm house-sitting.

Hang in there, Miguel. It's hard to believe, but it does get better; better than before (trust me). You have friends all over the world thinking of you.

bev said...

So nice to come by to visit and find a new post, pete. I'm far behind in my reading because i've been spending so much time off smelling creosote bush, sage, pollen and dust in the desert. I don't seem to be writing so much these days either. It's not that I don't wish to, but there's only so much energy to go around and the past year or so seems to have used most of what I had to give. The internet - it's brought a lot of wonderful things into my life, so not many regrets or much to criticize. But, yes, it's important to get outdoors and live if and when that's possible. For some, perhaps the internet is their "outside".

pohanginapete said...

Coincidental you should mention those smells, Bev. I've just finished reading Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and it brought back strong memories of those kinds of smells, from a brief visit in 2002. Your last point struck a chord, too — I think of people who have major disabilities and have to spend most of their time bed-ridden. For those people, any connection offered by the Internet to the wider world, particularly places beyond urban boundaries, must be a great comfort, and in some cases, a lifeline.
Thanks for visiting, Bev.

bev said...

Pete - I often think of how the internet does open the world up for people who, for some physical reason, are forced to remain indoors. I have a couple of friends who have been in that situation and, indeed, it was their lifeline. Kind of wonderful that there is a common ground where people from all walks of life, abilities, etc.. can meet and interact. Take care, bev.

pohanginapete said...

And you too, Bev. I hope this coming year's a good one for you.

Fee said...

Delicious and enjoyable. Reading about the smells invokes similiar memories for me. I have always enjoyed your postings, Pete, and wish there was a book so that others, who do not have access to the Internet, could also enjoy your divine writing. The Godley Head photo - I was in the same area and time and it reminds me of watching a thunderstorm inch its way over the harbour and eventually, in the late afternoon, dumping its load onto the town below. Fiona

pohanginapete said...

Fiona, thanks for the wonderful encouragement :^) I remember a thunderstorm on another day during that visit to Christchurch; the rain was so heavy it forced most of the traffic to slow to a crawl, or even stop. And, there will be a book. Whether any publisher will have the guts to take it on is another matter.

clixchix said...

Pete, Clive from Wales here, leap-frogged from Dave Bonta's website and the poem he wrote about my painting and to which you responded. The photograph above is so staggeringly beautiful that it brought me up short with admiration. Breathtaking. Really. It has the heightened quality of a dream. Absolutely perfect.

pohanginapete said...

Clive, thank you! Dave's poem and your painting struck me as that remarkable and rare combination of two works of art that complement each other wonderfully. It's actually something I've been thinking about for a long time in a slightly different context: I struggle to imagine ways to create a book where text and photos don't compete; where one doesn't dominate.

I'm grateful to Dave for pointing me towards your work. Cheers Clive!

clixchix said...

Pete, for the past year I've been wrestling with exactly those same issues as I've worked on the forthcoming illustrated edition of Peter Shaffer's play Equus for the Old Stile Press. Balancing images to text in the play has been a real conundrum. With all the physical aspects necessary for a production described in the stage directions, at every turn I found myself seeking not to duplicate what was already there in words. Just about the most challenging thing I've ever done. I set myself the task of not trying to illustrate, but rather to create a 'tone' by the use of a limited iconography. Atmosphere was my goal. I guess we'll see how successful I was... or not... when the book is published. I'd be interested to see how you combine photographs and text in any forthcoming book projects.

pohanginapete said...

Clive, that's uncanny: one of the tentative conclusions I'd reached was that photos that do little or nothing more than illustrate a text will generally be subordinate to the text, and vice versa. Your approach of trying to express an atmosphere sounds pretty much on the mark to me. As for my own book projects, well, it's the writing that's my focus.

jacqueline b said...

lapsang souchong - samuel beckett's favourite tea, he used to get boxes sent over from london to paris.
I'm off out to acquire some now, along with jasmine and sandalwood - its been a while

pohanginapete said...

Jacq, that reminds me: I'm out of lapsang souchong. Must stop in and pick some up on my way back to the valley today. I didn't know it was Beckett's favourite. Guess we're in good company :^)

KiwiSoupGirl said...

Hey there Pete! I have been a while away myself - just ensconced in other parts of the internet - such a large world that it has become... :-) I trust you are well, and it most certainly seems you writing, and beautifully evocative and complementary photography, is thriving as I hope you yoursef are! Computer crashes and lost email addresses and password info aside - I finally found the wherewithal to work out my blog address and password. The challenge now will be to contribute to it. The easy part will be submerging myself into the beauty that is your work! Ka kite ano, e hoa! :-) KSB

pohanginapete said...

Kia ora KSG. Great to see you back. It's easy to get lost out there... And that reminds me to run backups; it's been a little too long.

Flattie said...

Hey Pete ! We're famous.. check out http://comm215.wetpaint.com/page/New%20Zealand%3A%20Useful%20Links?t=anon

I must say, however, that your words far outweigh anything that I have ever committed to keyboard. Keep writing my friend, you have a rare gift.

pohanginapete said...

Hey Flattie, thanks for pointing out the wet paint link. Thanks too for the kind words. Now, I'd better get some more written... ;^)