Peaceful unhurried Naseby.
Summer time — visitors, families, kids.
Outdoors fun, swimming, cycling, forest walks, fishing, making carts: real good fun!
Books to read and lawns to mow and the smell of sizzling saussies.
The Dairy: Icecreams and milkshakes and plasters for knees and a listening ear.
Long days ticking slowly...
Winter time teasing wool and kindling wood and nestling by fires.
Slower paced, stories to tell, snow to move, keeping an eye out for those in need.
Books, letters, summer fruits extracted from a pantry of myriad jars to lift an evening.
The luge and curling and calling a Bonspiel and good hearted ribbing.
Counting blessings. So many.
Mostly folk well seasoned, folk who have achieved a little grace and a measure of wisdom.
Generous, kind, thoughtful, dependable.
Interesting people - they have names.
You'd like them.
There are still corners of New Zealand where old values hold. Basic honesty, respect for property and people's space, trust, an abundance of wisdom, a feeling of security because neighbours look out for neighbours, when good times were those one spent with family. Those are the sorts of things we "Baby Boomers" took for granted when we grew up, especially those of us who had the privilege of living in the more rural sectors of this country. Sure it wasn't all like that, but a lot of it was! Nothing wrong with our memories either, thanks.
Sadly, most New Zealanders I know now live in a context of high fences, locked doors, minimal - if any - interaction with neighbours, and much reduced real time interaction with family. Both parents working. Kids in Day Care. Multiple cars and multiple televisions and multiple gods. Families might actually find themselves appalled at the collective sum of hours spent during a week by family members communicating with a device compared to the amount of time they actually spent together. Do they even have time (or inclination) to know what each is watching, to evaluate the values and messages contained therein, and to discuss and extract value from them?
What have we done!
Did we tear down the fabric of values that our societies lived by so that we could replace them with something better? If so, it hasn't worked very well, has it? In our hunger to appease the media driven tolerance mores of "it's fine if it's not hurting anybody", we stripped away the behavioural and social codes and denigrated the arbiters of those codes, none more vigorously so than who profess to believe in Christ.
Did we do that deliberately? Did we first examine the potential impact of making such changes, or did we simply wake up from inertia and complacency one day to find that institutions such as the Clarke-led government had had their way. Basic right and wrong, established through God-prescribed, Christian led wisdom and practice became matters for testing, then criticism, then public ostracism and denigration, then legislation. The Fundamentalists of Change didn't have to work too hard to achieve their agendas: our fractured and reeling Christian church community seems utterly unable to unite and harvest its collective strength and speak up for itself, let alone for any national good. Let down by it's own ministers, some of distinctly rainbowed cloth and perverse persuasion, it is a very muted, some say spent, force.
Gosh, something seems to have pressed my buttons! Forgive me.
No, not the content. I feel very passionately that we in New Zealand have lost our direction in so many respects. No — forgive me for getting side tracked. I sat down to write about painting this scene of Naseby.
Here, let me put the painting up:
The painting captures Naseby of an early autumn evening. I hope you enjoy the scene. Two cyclists have drawn up under the lights to rest weary muscles. Not much going on - not much at all. Nice.
The execution: some good bits — actually, quite a few really good bits — and some gremlins that crept in. I'm still experimenting, you see, and some experiments by their very nature DON'T WORK! The lesson: stop doing paintings on my own! This one has the accumulation of some good experience and some genuine lack of talent. Why do I do this when I know that working a painting in prayer and with a Heavenly Father always gives the best results? (Don't answer that.)
Naseby is nestled hard up on the flanks of the Ida Range on the northern side of the Maniototo Plains. Its nearest neighbour is the town of Ranfurly, about 15 km away. Summer is glorious — full of heady bouquets and baking heat and abundance of swimming holes. And there's that other season too of course: because of Naseby's position, it catches the brunt of the winter snows and can be isolated at times. All good.
The town has largely been "undiscovered" by those of mercenary materialism so that its primary dwelling type remains small, tidy and unpretentious. How long it can remain this way is a moot point. The ravenous wallets have blitzed so many of our precious Otago gems and made them both unaffordable and undesirable to Kiwi families. Naseby IS affordable not just monetarily but also in terms of the values that matter. Kids can have great holidays here. Folk can retire safely here. Those seeking a slower, more peaceful way of life can find it here. It is a place that encourages relationships across the fence, the sharing of joys and trials, and strong community engagement.
For more on Naseby, try these two sites:
Bit of a ramble this week, so next week I'll keep it tighter.