20 June 2010

Midwinter


Heavy rain on a dark Sunday morning; the sheep standing with ears drooped in the front paddock; mist in the valley. Ming finally abandons his attempts to investigate the rubbish in favour of curling up on the bed. The rain gets heavier. I imagine this weather in a gorge on Cold Mountain, the sound of rain on the leaves and canes of the bamboo with the roar of the gorge as a background, Hanshan stooped in the entrance of his cave, smiling as he peers out. A crow flying off, black against the grey mist, off to some place only crows know on Cold Mountain, some place in the unknowable mist high on the mountainside where no one goes. Hanshan shakes his head, still smiling, goes inside and pours tea. He watches the steam curling up, becoming the mist. What more could I need, he thinks and takes a noisy slurp.

I pour another cup of oolong. A pen, a notebook for writing, rain on the roof, a cat on the bed. What more could I need?


Photos and original text © 2009 Pete McGregor

19 comments:

Zhoen said...

Tea. Rain. Cat. Writing.
Deep slow purring contentment
Filling space and time.

beadbabe49 said...

I'm going to try to remember his next winter when I begin to wonder if I will ever see the sun again, lol!

Anonymous said...

Big smile. Happy to see another entry. How could it be that you turn a dreary day into a lovely japanese-like poem? Next time I find myself in the rain I will think of this. Maureen

Relatively Retiring said...

Meanwhile, in Middle England- at the cool start of morning I unwisely use a pickaxe to try and remove a tree stump. I have a vision of a swathe of salvias in the space. I attack the great burgeoning shoots of bamboo, water the new plants, dig at the ground-elder, try to control the vine. The heat builds and by mid-day I am reduced to exhausted weepiness. How much longer can I survive alone in this jungle?
Happy solstice, dear nephew!

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, thanks — I like it!

Beadbabe, I hope it helps ;^)

Maureen, thanks :^) If you were here today you wouldn't have long to wait for that rain. Crazy weather: sudden downpours that last less than a minute then stop completely.

RR, if I were there I'd gladly help out (although I suspect we'd forgo the gardening in favour of yarning). Thanks for the reminder about the solstice, too — now we're heading into summer. Yay!

Val said...

You write so beautifully, your photos are beautiful. I have your blog in my feed reader with the note "must read this at the site". Thank you for your words and images.

Anne-Marie said...

Ummmm .... a heater?

I have been enjoying winter more than usual this year - appreciating the particular delights that belong to winter only, like that "hunker down" feeling that you have described so poetically here. Lovely.

Tony said...

Beautiful, as usual. Thanks, Pete.

pohanginapete said...

Val, thank you, and welcome. I'm delighted you enjoy the blog :^)

Anne-Marie, you might have something there... ;^) Winter's not really my time of year, but if I can't avoid it I might as well enjoy it.

Cheers Tony — good to hear from you. Hope you're keeping warm down there ;^)

Bob McKerrow said...

Mid winter greetings Pete !

It is a time of year for thoughts, tea and writing. I enjoyed your jottings and the amazing photo.
I posted a story today on mid winter's day at Vanda Station in Antarctica, some 40 years ago.

But we must struggle to keep our dreams in front of our memories.

isabelita said...

Lovely evocation of most of this year up here in Seattle!!!!
We are currently near the end of "June-uary"....
That photo looks just like somewhere in the Cascade foothills over the weekend. At least you are offically in winter!

pohanginapete said...

Bob, I'd love to spend time in Antarctica. Most of the people I know who've been there would give an arm and a leg to get back there. To me it seems like the kind of place that can't help but bring out the best in artists, poets and scientists (all in the broad sense).

Isabelita, I've heard a bit about the weather in some parts of the Pacific Northwest. Glad you have magnificent mountains as compensation :^)

Michael said...

I could use a cup of that tea (and acceptance of what is) about now.

Nice post.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
A perfect description of making the best of a Manawatu winter day. I agree with Anne-Marie about the heater! The wood fire adds another layer to the rainy winter day. With the shortest day now past hopefully you will be writing of spring very soon.
Cheers,
Robb

pohanginapete said...

Michael, when it comes to acceptance of what is, one of the very best examples must be that of the lama at Shey, in Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard. When asked whether he enjoyed being trapped at Shey (he was partly crippled), he replied, "Of course I'm happy. Especially when I have no choice!" Me — I'm still trying to work my way through the difficulty of reconciling "living in the moment" and engagement/passion. To forgo one for the other seems no solution at all — and entirely the wrong way to approach it.
I hope your 'flu vanishes fast. Enjoy that tea, Michael :^)

Kia ora Robb. A wood fire would be wonderful. Fortunately it hasn't been overly cold the last few days, and I can almost imagine Spring on its way. I trust the hip's improving rapidly — take it easy; the Ruahine will be there to welcome you back whenever you're ready :^)

Beth said...

Pete, just a note to tell you I was here and loved this post and your photo, though for a moment the title took me aback, holding on as I am to the precious warmth and freedom of the far-northern midsummer. And so the wheel turns!

pohanginapete said...

Thank you, Beth — glad you enjoyed it. I'm holding on to the thought that warm days are only a few months off (they'd better be!).

Avus said...

A Zen feeling about that last paragraph, Pete.

pohanginapete said...

Avus, thanks :^)