Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Water moves rocks

This post wraps up my South Island trip: in which I visit a glacier, admire weather stations, spot charismatic megafauna and visit an earthquake struck city.

Franz Joseph Glacier- only a few years ago, the ice extended past the place I was taking the photo.

During my 'Antarctic period' I became tangentially fascinated by glaciers, not only those in Antarctica but elsewhere.  I dreamed about them, I wrote poems about them, I tried to imagine how I would make one but  I'd never actually seen one for myself until last month.

Dirty glacier grinding up the mountain and leaving a big mess of rocks. A bit like a mine, but slower and well, a natural process.
 I found my necessarily-rushed visit to Franz Joseph Glacier to be every bit as exciting and inspiring as I could have hoped for.  I will be going back someday, somehow, for more.

The terminal face from 500m which is the closest we could get with out a guide. Those crevasses are scary looking!  I love how the ice is blue where its been recently exposed by a fall.

Even though the Glacier visit was a sort of last minute add-on to our trip, it turned out to be the key that unlocked my thinking about how to respond to mining issues through my art.  I was struck by the similarities and differences between mining and the natural processes that slowly grind down mountains into rocks and gravel carried across away the landscape.

Rock striated by being dragged down the mountain by the glacier.  I'm restraining myself from posting many more great rock photos from my South Island trip. Rocks were definitely the highlight for me- the West Coast is a geology-geek paradise.
I've already started working on developing ways to express these ideas with needle and thread, and my next posts will be full of those explorations.  In the meantime, here's some photos to give you a flavour of the rest of our week in the South Island.

At snowy Arthur's Pass, four kea were hanging around the railway workmen's barrel fire.
One of the cheeky kea found a workman's satchel, opened the flap, moved the thermos flask and unwrapped his sandwiches!

My travel companion had her own agenda for the trip (to check out monitoring stations), fortunately highly compatible with my mining obsession.  Here Robin inspects the Arthur's Pass weather station.  Under her influence I have become so adept at identifying weather stations in the scenery that sometimes I can spot them even before Robin! (Note my restraint in not posting numerous weather station photos on this blog)

We spend our final few days in Christchurch, staying in the Eastern suburbs on a street with more houses abandoned than occupied.  In many parts of the city this kind of scene (actually in Kaiapoi) is common.  It is heart rending to see how damaged the city remains over a year after the big quakes.

Christchurch's devastation is also pocketed with determinedly cheerful community projects transforming the empty lots and ubiquitous shipping containers into street art.  This is a project in Sumner  that I contributed a couple of crocheted squared to, along with hundreds of other crafters around the world.  


Carol said...

Fascinating photos as usual, Meliors, and I look forward to seeing where this adventure is taking you. Christchurch is still hard to comprehend for me. I think I need to go back to see it again.

Harvey Molloy said...

Fantastic photos. I must try to see the glacier next time I'm down south.