24 April 2008

turangawaewae

Today is my anniversary; one year ago I was unpacking in my new home after that long haul flight from Auckland to Rome.

This morning I received a lovely email from New Zealand, noting my year here.
The four seasons have been.The road has had some hills and some tight corners but "your car" has survived as has the driver.
Yes, it has been a difficult year, but a good one. The car is on the road, negotiating traffic, and mostly I am the driver. The four seasons have been, and now I can reflect on a whole year.

Yesterday when the Kerikeri High School students sang a waiata at the Commonwealth Cemetery I remembered what it felt like to be a New Zealander. Special moments have music that touches the soul. Even if I forget the words, I hope that music always touches me the way it does now.

I came back to Roccasecca, took Zacchi for a long walk past the huge fallen rocks where the road is closed, and knew that I was at home. We walked for nearly two hours. It was dark when we got home. Just before we got back to Caprile, our little hamlet, we saw our first two fire-flies for the season. They are due in May. The first was flashing so brightly and happily beside us, telling me that all is well. The second one, resting on the road, was saying that this is a good place to stay.

The music of Ciociaria is growing on me, but is yet to enthrall me the way Maori music does. But in this part of my life, this pause in my journey, this is my turangawaewae, my place to stand. When I see the fire-flies my spirits soar and I know that I am standing in a very special place.