Friday, December 11, 2009

As big or as small as the ocean.

Home can't be more peaceful than when it is first spring cleaned in summer. Books straightened, cds piled, bed shifted - so the dust build-up can be vacumned and for change - skirting boards damped down with a wet cloth. But our home is very close to the outside world. In a northerly you can hear it throbbing. The door grates, towels whip on the line and the pohutukawa hisses.

A rather fragile looking craft has braved the swells of Evans Bay and is making hard work of it. It is wild out there, and the boat is crashing heavily into the gleaming face of the waves. It makes me think of the ocean. What it is like to be out there. My memories are further stirred by reading Bob McKerrows blog. Bob is an adventurer, writer and humanitarian working in Indonesia and currently visiting Banda Aceh on the 5th Anniversary of the Tsunami. On Boxing Day in 2004 the ocean reclaimed Banda Aceh and many of its people, yesterday looking at Bob's blog the ocean was peaceful, just like some days Wellington Harbour can seem like a pond.

We visited Aceh last year and travelled by boats, similar to those in Bob's blog through many of the small islands off Sumatra's west coast. Travelling from Singkil to the Banyak (many) islands we were hit by a squall and our fellow travellers looked anxious, but on another occasion we sat on the prow of a coconut boat alone on the ocean and watched the sun sink into the Indian Ocean.

Reading Bob's blog and looking out at the ocean now Indonesia doesn't seem so far away. Our ocean, despite its different name, is the same ocean that washes up against the many islands, its the same ocean that swallowed Banda Aceh that the flimsy craft is still battling against outside my window. Its an ocean so vast, and yet so small, depending on how we percieve it from one minute to the next.

3 comments:

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Jamie,
Well written. Pretty humbling stuff indeed. That was a pretty cool evening hooking up with you and Bob in Christchurch. And Arthurs Pass, another fine day and evening. Tara still owes your parents a bottle of Ginger Wine.
Wishing you the best of holiday seasons my friend.
Rangimarie,
Robb

Bob McKerrow said...

Jamie and Robb, good to see your writings.

I love the contrasts between calm and wild, and sheltering from the storm,

Merry Christmas guys.

Bob

Jamie said...

Thanks Fellas, and likewise.

I'll have a beer for you on the beach!

Jamie