Saturday, January 8, 2011

An Eye for the Man-Made


Ben and I went for a walk around the airport this morning.  In our little old Nelson, you can walk around our little airport, on a City-Council-created track called, ahem, the Airport Parameter walk.  In fact, I like to wait until a plane departs or arrives so I can see them fly right above my head, but today we found out that is not allowed, that you're to stop at a certain point if you see/hear a plane.  I had always thought the sign was meant for airport maintenance vehicles, but Ben though otherwise. Oh, well, close enough.

About half of the track goes around the airport as you and I may know it, and then it wraps around the grassy part where smaller planes and helicopters land and take off, and then it's the far end of the airport, and through small pre-fab office buildings of car rental and distribution businesses.  That's the route on the right-hand side if you go clockwise.  On your left-hand side the track starts with an estuary, then Waimea Inlet with Rabbit Island across the way, and then the dreaded golf course where I keep picturing me getting hit on the head or the face with a stay golf ball.  You may get a sense of it from the map below.  The whole walk, if you walk briskly like a Kiwi, takes less than an hour, but if you stop and shoot like we do, about an hour and a half.


View Larger Map

It's a nice walk, especially if you start off early enough so you are not walking under the scorching sun.  Whenever we go on walks like these, we regret we don't do it often.  Ben looks around in his slow, careful way, but I think he likes the sea and the birds, whereas I'm interested in the planes; I never tire of looking at planes arriving and departing and travelers getting off and on and luggage carts toing and froing with pretty much the same-looking suitcases. I also like to think of the last/next trip to Wellington which is only 25 minutes away.

See, Nelson is wasted on me.  If you like swimming, kayaking, hiking or even skiing and snowboarding, all these are available within an hour from our house.  But me, I would rather go to several bookshops in succession, (Nelson has only one independently-owned bookshop and two used-book stores,) galleries, (of which we have a good number for the size of the town,) museums, walk around town gazing at buildings, gates, bridges, preferably old stone ones, (of which we have not,) and end up in a theater in the evening, (don't get me started on this one.)  A good day of walking, to me, is visiting a big museum or two and going to every single floor and reading every single blurb on the wall.

I am attracted to man-made things, like architecture, sculptures, urban parks; I am interested in stories of people. I enjoy reading history and biography.  Sometimes living in a small place without a sense of history frustrates me; it makes me feel as if I am living on a cardboard city.  I also think my art-making would be so much better if I lived in a place where architecture/cityscape were beautiful.  

But Nelson is a beautiful place; we have a big sky and lovely water.  Always in the background are the  hills that can surprise you with white stuff on top when you didn't expect it.  And though small, it is a community kind towards artists and art-making, and if I packed my looms and moved somewhere, I could do much, much worse.  I know this.

2 comments:

  1. Nelson really does sound wonderful but I'm with you about cultural things. I miss having great museums close by and the interesting architecture both old and new that being near Boston MA offered. But those are things to do when you go out. I am perfectly happy not seeing another home or building and just trees from my house windows.

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  2. Ah, yes, but we only live in the suburbs, so the unappreciative part of me could say I don't have the benefit of rural living. And we don't have houses in our faces, as it were... I need to be more appreciative.

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