Tonight it is cold. I sit by the fire here – Ian, drying the last of the winter wind out of my clothes….
Outside on the roof, you can hear the rain; it drifts through the kauri on the ridge, and folds down into the valley, in sweeps of grey and white. It makes me remember the winter we spent huddled by the fire wrapped in our swandries keeping ourselves warm with talk, and cups of cocoa.
It’s hard now that you’ve gone.
I finished your Quilt this evening. It’s taken a long time. I hunted out your old shed pants and a couple of work shirts – and cut them up for patches. And Dad gave me some bailing twine to sew around your portrait. (You will notice that I am still ratshit with a needle and thread, so I got Garth to help me do the fancy stuff with his machine.)
I have written on the poem by W.B. Yeats that you gave me. I still keep a copy of it in the workshop – after all these years……The other words are the ones you wrote to me after the hassle of my coming out……For over a decade those lines have stood beside me……You always had such insight.
Last year, when they told me you had died – I drove down to the farm. It is still much the same; the fences and the sheep tracks, wandering across the hillsides.
The four paintings that surround your portrait are from that trip, Ian.
The first one is the morning after we met. It was summer and I remember how I sat and looked out the window at the hillsides, while you were sleeping…. and there were magpies calling in the paddocks.
The second painting is of the same hills – in autumn – before I left for Europe.
The two-night scenes are about our togetherness – and being apart. The first is mine, with the Southern Cross and Virgo in the midheaven – The other is from your home in England – with the Pole Star and Pisces rising. They are both in winter.
The saying in Maori is about your strength because you showed me how to be proud….And because through you I learnt not to be afraid of loving.
But even now, Ian, I can see that these are only words….And you have gone.
I sit here by the smoke and embers and I touch the texture of your face. It is hard to be left with just a picture on the floor. I run my fingers lightly through the softness of your shirt and back across the hills and the sky, Ian, and here
alone without you…..
I can feel that I am
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