Monday, April 27, 2015

Autumn in April

Back in 2010 I wrote a post on one of my earlier blogs about a set of questions to use for writing a personal history.  I have used these several times for helping other's get their life stories recorded, and have taught a few classes on the importance of incorporating these sorts of stories into family history.

Some are not really true questions at all, but rather simple writing prompts to spark a memory.  For example, one says: "Describe a perfect fall day".  Often, those are not the sort of things that come to mind when someone sets about trying to write an autobiography.  However, it's just those sort of simple memories that can illustrate what a person's day to day life was like.

 Autumn has long been my favorite season.   I have many happy memories associated with cooler months when the days have begun to grow shorter - a time when leaves begin to turn and harvests are being brought in.

Today my sweet companion and I enjoyed just such a day - nevermind that it is the end of April.  Here in the Southern hemisphere seasons are all topsy-turvy from what we experienced back in the United States.

Today is a public holiday here in New Zealand (an extended time off from work in honor of Anzac Day which I described in my last post).  Since we were not expected to go into our office, we planned to do a bit of exploring.   However, this morning was cold and very windy, with pouring rain - quite typical for this time of year here, and not much of a day for hikes or going to the beach.   So instead we got together with two other couples and went to the Naval Museum in Davenport.
From Visit Davenport website at http://www.visitdevonport.co.nz/torpedo-bay-navy-museum

According to  http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3323 the Royal New Zealand Navy Museum
 at Torpedo Bay "is of exceptional heritage significance having been continuously occupied by New Zealand military forces since 1880. It was a key part of Auckland’s early defence system and is now the most substantial and intact 19th century mining base to survive in New Zealand. "

Housed in a 19th Century submarine mining station looking over the Waitemata Harbour, this museum had well presented displays that illustrated Kiwi participation in military exercises, treaties and conflicts from all over the world.

We spent a little over an hour looking at the displays and reading the descriptions.  It was interesting stuff, although somber.  For those with a particular interest in military history it would be a real gem.  For me, it was significant but rather sad.  Still, in light of the day, as we continued in remembrance of those who had served, it seemed and appropriate place to be.

When we got home I fixed a nice lunch and then we just relaxed for a while and took short naps.  We don't get many naps in this mission, so having a day when we could just kick back felt pretty great!

Then Larry and I decided to take a drive out to Brown's Bay.   That was where we had originally intended to go this morning, but had gotten our plans shuffled due to the weather. Once the rain stopped and the sun came out the day turned absolutely beautiful, so we decided to give it a go.

First we went to the Sherwood Reserve where we had a lovely walk and found a couple geocache.  Most of the native trees of New Zealand do not change colors, but we found some that were just beginning to put on a show:

Of course, in this temperate climate, there are still lots of flowers and plenty of green - not the typical die-back we see during Autumn back in the states.  One of the geocache hides we found had the clue "Near a flowering Pohutakawa Tree."  These trees typically flower around December and are known as New Zealand Christmas trees, so I was rather surprised to see this one still in bloom today:

As we walked across the bridge along the pathway we had to smile observing the ducks and pigeons and sparrows all pecking on the ground together - in true NZ multi cultural fashion.  The way the various cultures here are able to peacefully collaborate is such a soothing contrast to the racial tensions we often sensed in the US.

This photo of the spot we were at was taken by Greg Van Slyke and posted on Flikr

After our time at the park we headed down to the beach.   It's only a few miles up the coast from our own Takapuna, so it is not all that different.  Still, the tide was out so there was a wide expanse of open sand to walk on.  The sky was shifting colors as we were there at the close of day.   It was just so peaceful to be there together just relaxing as we wandered along picking up shells.

Then we came home for some relaxed time together, a simple dinner, then reading scriptures and preparing for bed.  Nothing terribly exciting or eventful took place.  But for me, it was a perfect Autumn day.

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