The pa… it’s all harakeke

I was talking with my aunty, the one who lives across the road.

Me and my aunty have had our ups and downs over the years… but always, there has been a lot of aroha between us.

I remember when I was a kid and my parents would send me to the pa to stay with my nan, aunty would come and get me and take me on some random hikoi or protest… at least I always thought they were just random, when really they were us fighting for our right to exist. Me, my cousins, siblings and aunty would always go to protests, and she’d be the person everyone would come and korero to.

I really love my aunty, and she really loves me.

We have been having really good korero about healing and light, and letting go of things that we’ve been holding on to as a way to heal ourselves from the inside out.

For my aunty, its a strategy to deal with the cancer in her breast she is trying to heal.

For me, my korero is a strategy for committing to the journey that has been playing out in my head for as long as I can remember…

The thing that really makes me fret though, is the fear that my own journey will keep me too far away from the people who are important in my life.

When I was back in Aotearoa over summer, I made a real effort to see all the people I care about most. I managed to see nearly all of them. Even when I didn’t exactly plan to see people I wanted to see, often, I would end up seeing them on the street, or I would bump into them at hui. The whole of summer was a sea of affirmation, faces and places to stir the sediment of my sedentary memory. There’s aroha everywhere to draw from, if we simply let it find and embrace us.

It’s a tough balance, but that’s living aye, when you’re out in the fray, fretting like the gaps between chords, strings of strife, play for me and I’ll sing-song my life, and live to love the polyphonic sonic boom boom boom.

I sit in my room in the mornings and I put on my makeup, make my day in the shimmer of shadow and liner, the finer things in life, the knife’s edge, my mirror on the ledge as I peer into the pa below. It’s a friendly old foe, the tension between running out to play, and running out of things to say, the silence of listening to the woes of the world.

But the simple things are always there, as I peer from way up here, onto the street below. Down there where I took my first steps in the newly laid seal, and got a slap from my uncle for having painted on taringa. I can hear the kids play, they’re always having fun, and so did I when I was funning around out there barefoot and snotty nosed.

And now as I sit somewhere else in the world again, playing uncle and aunt to another generation of genetic courage, pages flicker like lit candles in the easy breeze. They cast shadows that emerge as forms of fables, fictions for the play of pendulums, dodgems and didgeridoos…a better way of life, sing me to surrender.

As I put the final bits of glam on my eyes for the play; that’s my new day, I think about the view into my aunty’s room where my nan used to live, and I remember how much love lives on the street of my childhood ways.

I throw down my magic carpet and fly, because it’s blue sky, scrape the scraps into a bowl and bellow “it’s dinner time”.
Feast not famine, feats not forgotten family, beats not banishment…

It’s simply meant to be.