My mind’s eye floats away when I remember the primordial features of New Zealand’s land. Life is still evolving on the two islands. They sit on top of active volcanoes and two tectonic plates that are crashing into each other. Mountains still grow higher, earthquakes reshape cities, lava covers and rebuilds the coastline. The glaciers recede and leave rough terrain; tiny plants will grow again in about 100 years.
The changing life and land in New Zealand takes one out of his or herself. You are transported back to a time when the earth was still forming and humans did not exist. For me, the journey manifested itself by creating a separation of my spirit from my body. I felt like a floating organic shape of energy. It allowed me to recognize the dynamic life of a tiny plant and feel its equal weight in this universe.
The two islands developed life in isolation. The land split off from the ancient super continent Gondwana. The land mass continued to migrate until it was far enough away so that mammals could not reach it. Early birds enjoyed a sanctuary without predators. The birds evolved to lose their wings and ability for fly. Unstressed birds, no snakes, no mammals except for bat, until humans came 800 years ago. New Zealand still does not have predators and they work hard to keep them out. That is why the sheep have beautiful wool, they live a life without fear.
Living a life without stress allows the essence of one’s soul to exist without constraints. I’ve known this lesson all my life but never got to experience it. It took going to another hemisphere to an evolving land that is primitive in its terrain. And it got me excited to create all the colors, textures and shapes I saw in New Zealand’s landscape. They will work their way into my artwork and textiles, and each mark with have my passion. What we think is simple–a rock, a leaf, a cloud, is so complex. They are just like us.