Tag Archives: Thank you

As Long as the Red Earth Rolls

8 Jun



Jun 8,  2020

Day 79

Today I rested.

Early morning clouds hid the moon again and so the chance to duplicate May’s full moon photograph is gone. “Another time, Highlander”, growls the Kurgon somewhere in the back of my mind.

No quail this morning. Temperature is down into ‘see your breath territory’. Back to sleep for a while. Wake to beauty. Breakfast in bed. Sun streams through the bedroom window.

Valerie and I walked in the midday sun through our compound, seeing areas that need work and noting where a brush stroke here or there would add to the canvas. She inspected the neat double stacked row of foundation posts in the tiny hollow just off the drive and I showed her how I’ll be able to pull them one by one down through a gap in the trees to the worksite. A Tui sang crazily above us and we walked to the top of the drive and up the road for a while. The sun was bright and the sky a turquoise backdrop to the green ridges that frame our land. Back at the entrance to our drive I showed her where I want to build a cantilevered gate that will slide out of the forest on silent bearings when we want to keep the world at bay. We walked hand in hand down the drive cataloging the damage to the ponga done by the drought. We lost at least ten of the tall fern trees along each side, not to mention what has happened throughout the forest. I will harvest the trunks and use them somewhere along the line, honouring their life as best I can.

After lunch I cleaned dead ponga branches from the grove and removed spider webs from the interior walls of the entrance porch. The ease with which they can be seen is probably the only drawback of having black walls. I used a small paint brush and found it worked pretty well, but as I brushed I imagined of a battery powered rotary tool with a bottle brush on the business end…  And added it to the list.

Around mid afternoon Valerie checked the numbers and told me, “Zero new cases and you’ll be glad to know that the one person who’s been holding out has recovered…”  I let that news sink in as I reached for my computer to see for myself. Sure enough, today’s numbers tell the tale…


Zero New cases. One Recovered case. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases and probable cases plus deaths is 100%. Zero active cases.


Bloody marvellous and while not a laurel to rest on, it is a milestone a long time coming and one to be proud of and thankful for. I think I’ll have a beer and raise a toast to us.




So… Where do we go from here? The country is going to Alert Level 1 for the second time in history. What that means for us is that all businesses will be open with only minor restrictions. Gatherings can be held without regard to size. Social distancing will still be encouraged and the wearing of masks may be mandated on public transport and in certain other situations. Anyone coming into the country will be quarantined for a minimum of fourteen days while authorities examine options  and begin to sort out how to re-open the country to travellers from disease free nations. There will be many more details to iron out, some anticipated and others wholly unanticipated. It’s the nature of the beast.




Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wisely made it very clear in her announcement today that there will be more cases, but that what we have learned thus far will help us to find, diagnose, track and eliminate any new cases that show up.




We are in a good place and things are only going to get better.




All of which has me thinking that my subtitle, Diary of a Pandemic, is no longer appropriate, nor accurate. Especially since it looks as though, for the semi-foreseeable future, any dying I do won’t be because of Covid-19. That being said, I’m still glad I decided to write about it all. At the outset of lockdown the odds were good that it was going to be a serious Charlie Foxtrot and there was no way of telling how it would all work out. http://acronymsandslang.com/definition/7720898/CHARLIE+FOXTROT-meaning.html


I’ve learned a great deal in the past three months, not the least of which is that…




Nevertheless, I have no illusions that it’s over. The fears that started me writing what was, in many ways, my death bed testimonial still exist. They are founded on long years of experience and the events of the first half of 2020 have only strengthened them.




The Pandemic is still on in the rest of the world. Covid-19 is probably out there for good now, unless smarter folks than I can find a way to put it back in the bottle it was let out of. New Zealand will have to bend like a reed as the storm continues to rage elsewhere.

No man is an island, as Mr. Donne so eloquently said, and that statement applies to islands as well. So we will watch and wait, hope and dream, love and laugh. And I will remember to be grateful for the miracles that I am privileged to see every moment I’m alive, and to thank those of you who have stood by me as I added a few more planks to my raft. It is all I can do. I hope it is enough.




I hope each and every one of you find your way to the happiness you deserve. Breathe deep and know that no matter what happens to you or yours, this is not the end…




If the time comes when anyone wants to know more and I’m not around to ask, let it be said that…




And that he wished for all to…







29 May


May 29,  2020

Day 69

Four nights ago I started another entry in Diary of a Pandemic but had to stop when I realised I needed to find my passport so that I could trade in my Hawaii driving license for a New Zealand one in Auckland. The trip there was going to take all day and would be very hard on our heroes. There was also an element of stress as the swap had to happen and time was running out on the window of opportunity to do so. The passport search was a comedy of errors that mirrored my search for safety glasses earlier in the week, but I ended up finding it right where I’d stashed it. Since I was up I decided to wash the the windshield inside and out again and checked that everything was shipshape in the car. When I was done with I had four hours left before we had to get up and start driving so I gave up on the half finished post and went to sleep.

The alarm went off three seconds later and we dressed, ate breakfast, packed a lunch and took off on the two-and-a-half hour drive to Auckland. The universe smiled on us not for the first time and we sailed through the convoluted social distancing requirements at the licensing agency and were given priority treatment because we had come so far. I had all the proper documents and was helped by two perfect staff members and walked out of there with a temporary license after only an hour-and-a-half of standing in line. Valerie and I celebrated by going to a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet for a late lunch. We signed the contact tracing form that all businesses have to have at their entrances, ordered a large bucket and got the hell out of Dodge.

All the way home we watched as the way narrowed and the traffic diminished until at last we turned onto the 309 Road for the last leg of the journey. Through the gates and home in the gloaming. More chicken for dinner and a load off our backs, we slept the sleep of the righteous. The next two days we celebrated by doing nothing except listening to the rain fall and watching grey curtains of mist roll down the valley from the west.




When I finally came back to earth today and checked the Ministry of Health figures I could not believe my eyes. Four days has made a huge difference in the numbers…


Zero New cases. 7 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases (plus factoring in the 22 deaths thus far which are part of the overall ratio but have not been a part of my percentages until now) is 99.93%. One active case left and we are homing in on nine out of nine possible zeroes on the board.




It has been a long journey and while it’s nowhere close to being over, there is a certain sense of accomplishment in where we find ourselves right now. It’s going to take a while to sink in.




May you all stay safe and well. Thank you for your patience and for coming along for the ride.






(P.S. Got the possum last night with the crossbow. He’d been having his way in the garden for a month, but no more. Rest in peace to him and a lease on life for the roses. Valerie is happy (and sad). Amazing woman. I get to take the trap out of the forecourt and pack it away until next time. Life (and death) in the forest…)