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the rooster and me

Upper Moutere seems the perfect place for a rooster, January 2021, Sylvie GE

I live in a small town of around 50,000 inhabitants, it is small but but it is  a town nonetheless! And roosters are forbidden to live here: chickens, yes, but not roosters (I know because I went to check the regulations of the municipality)! However, for a few weeks now a rooster has been visiting the neighborhood. Our relationship didn’t start off on the right foot, when he came under my window. After checking with the municipality, I wondered for a few days what could cross the mind of the person who felt the need to get a rooster. Then it calmed down and I thought maybe the rooster was just visiting and had now returned home to the countryside (like in the photo). Then he came back and I found out it was a stray rooster, roaming around the neighborhood, which is why he doesn’t wake me up every day. I had all sorts of of thoughts that I’m ashamed of now, I started to find compelling the way  he screamed as soon as he catches  sight of the first light of day. I let myself be won over by his enthusiasm which remains intact, day after day, for the new day which begins. I even tried to write a haiku about that rooster (still working on it). Obviously, I will ask the municipality to relocate the intruder, but maybe not today. Maybe tomorrow, or next week.

Le coq et moi

Upper Moutere, un coq vivrait heureux ici, non, janvier 2021, Sylvie GE

Je vis dans une petite ville d’environ 50.000 habitants, mais une ville tout de même ! Et les coqs y sont interdits de séjour : les poulets, oui, mais pas les coqs (je le sais parce que je suis allée vérifier les règlements de la municipalité) ! Or, depuis quelques semaines un coq s’est invité dans le voisinage. Notre relation n’a pas commencé du bon pied, lorsqu’il venait sous ma fenêtre. Après vérification auprès de la municipalité, je me suis demandé pendant quelques jours ce qui pouvait bien traverser l’esprit de la personne ayant senti le besoin d’avoir un coq. Puis ça s’est calmé et je me suis dit que le coq n’était peut-être qu’en visite et qu’il était maintenant retourné chez lui, à la campagne (comme dans la photo).  Puis il est revenu et j’ai appris qu’il s’agissait d’un coq errant, qui se balade dans le voisinage, ce qui explique qu’il ne me réveille pas tous les jours.  Après avoir eu toutes sortes de pensées dont j’ai maintenant honte, je me suis prise à presque sourire lorsqu’il lance son cri strident aussitôt qu’il aperçoit les premières lueurs du jour. Je me suis laissé gagner par son enthousiasme qui demeure intact, jour après jour, pour la nouvelle journée qui commence. Evidemment, je vais demander à la municipalité de relocaliser l’intrus mais peut-etre pas aujourd’hui. Demain peut-être, ou la semaine prochaine.

pressing the shutter release to take a picture and getting something else

desierto de Atacama, San Pedro, November 2018, Sylvie GE
I pressed the shutter release to capture the personality of the cacti: their funny shape always gives me the impression that they are little more than plants. But when I edited the photo, it was the tree towering behind them like a ghost that caught my eye.

the silly season in the antipodes

Tahunanui Beach, December 2020, Sylvie GE
One of the things that I had the most difficulty adjusting after arriving in New Zealand is the silly season. I was trying to enjoy summer time, the sun, but there was nothing that would  do. I wanted dark weather, lights, snow, cold and everything that went with the Christmas spirit. My colleague from Scotland also fully agreed with me: Christmas is much better in the northern hemisphere. And so I plunged, as soon as I heard a Christmas song in a department store,  into a sad nostalgia that  could only be  shaken off by the disappearance of all the Christmas trees.

Over the years, my rigid mental attitude around what constitutes an acceptable Christmas has changed. I started  enjoying the lightness of the New Zealand silly season, the holiday atmosphere, the beach, the sparkling wine in the sun, the less light, less gifts, less food (unfortunately New Zealand seems have caught up  with the excesses of other countries since), all this gave a lightness that I began to appreciate, all of this, of course, provided  that I didn't see a Christmas tree and didn't hear any festive music, which still causes my immediate departure from wherever it is coming from.

This year, after several years of absence from the New Zealand holiday season, I will experience it again with joy, and for the first time with neighbours, who seem happy to have a Christmas meal with the lost souls of the neighbourhood. I have been asked to bake a Christmas pudding and this will be my first experience of said dessert.

Over the next few days, I'll be sharing photos from New Zealand's summer to get you into the Antipodean holiday spirit.