Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On the mend

Visitation from a flock of karoro, outside my window

I've had a good report from the doctor today. Yesterday's blood test shows that the severe infection that attacked me just before Christmas, is almost gone. And all seems well on the autoimmune front so no need for steroids. Phew.

The beach house has been the perfect place to convalesce in the past week after I got out of hospital. I haven't been feeling too well most of the time, but each day has brought renewed strength and some milestone on the road to recovery, and it's been nice just to lounge around peacefully watching the tides come and go, and contemplating the bird-life, and observing the unusual influx of holiday makers to the region.

It has struck me that being an invalid and being on summer holiday are very similar physical states. The brain is turned off and refuses to engage with anything beyond wondering what kind of food and drink will be appropriate next; any kind of work is out of the question; lazy recreation is almost indistinguishable from post-hospital fatigue. One nods off easily. I haven't felt like reading anything much yet except for leafing through some of the many bird books we collected last year.

I'm really enjoying Colin Tudge on The Secret Life of Birds.

His insights into bird - and human - behaviour are fascinating, and it's the sort of book you can dip into for the amusing or startling anecdotes as well as, presumably, read more closely when in a serious frame of mind.
The bounty of Christmas brought yet another bird book into the house, Margaret Orbell's meaty Birds of Aotearoa.

I learnt on looking through the Orbell that that karoro, the black-backed gull, was viewed by early Maori as a bird of mourning, due to its restlessness and melancholy crying.

Tangi amio ana te karoro i te awa

Nga tohu o te ipo unuhia noatia

The gulls circle the channel crying

They are a sign my beloved is taken from me

Karoro is not a common visitor to our bay in any significant numbers; we usually just see a few at a time. But they have been present in vast hordes over the past week, floating raucous sobbing rafts of them, drawn by an unusual tide of a rare treat for them, the squat lobster. And drawn also I'm sure, by my distress at not being well enough to journey to be at the tangi of a close and dearly loved old friend, as a message from her that tears don't need to travel.

Haere, e kui.

Many thanks to those of you who wished me well, said prayers, and sent healing thoughts. xx

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