Last evening I noticed the sunset transforming the metal trim on buildings into golden bands of light. I was not quick enough to capture the moment, however as I neared home I caught the sun dipping below the horizon.
I walk past this inspiring artwork many times every day in UNSW Australia, Sydney. I rarely stop to take in the colours, images, shadows or think about its meaning. This in itself is a lesson for me; my mind often is elsewhere rather than here and now. I appreciate the artist, David Cheah’s words and images and can draw comparisons with my own journey.
Once came a man with head of greed,
High and mighty upon his steed.
Bewitched was he by ancient glades,
Of purple caps and orange blades.
While here he learned that riches sought
Are worthless when life is so short.
Homeward bound his heart filled with gold,
A new perspective to be told.
(c) Robert Jones 2014, All Rights Reserved
The name Gold Coast was inspired by real estate opportunities following WWII. The South Coast Town Council, Queensland, adopted the name Gold Coast Town Council in 1958. I think that the golden sunsets are a more elemental reason for the title.
What do you think?
Reading about the deforestation of The land in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa inspired me to find out more:
“Around 1000 AD, before humans arrived in New Zealand, forest covered more than 80% of the land. The only areas without tall forests were the upper slopes of high mountains and the driest regions of Central Otago. When Māori arrived, about 1250–1300 AD, they burnt large tracts of forest, mainly on the coasts and eastern sides of the two main islands. By the time European settlement began, around 1840, some 6.7 million hectares of forest had been destroyed and was replaced by short grassland, shrubland and fern land. Between 1840 and 2000, another 8 million hectares were cleared, mostly lowland or easily accessible conifer–broadleaf forest.” (1)
“One of the largest and longest-living trees in the world, New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) belongs to the ancient conifer family, Araucariaceae. Kauri’s final size depends on site and conditions, but heights average 30–40 metres and trunks can reach several metres in diameter. By 600–700 years of age, kauri reaches an average diameter of over 1 metre. Kauri can survive for 1,000 years or more (with an average diameter of 2 metres), but trees older than 1,700 years (average diameters over 3 metres) are now rare.
In just over 100 years, logging and burning transformed the northern landscape from forest to farmland. By the early 1900s, most kauri forest had been logged. Although there was growing concern for the survival of remaining native forest, the high value of kauri timber meant that the forest was still exploited. A final push to extract the last of the kauri swept through the north in the 1920s and 1930s, reducing the forest to the few patches that survive today.” (2)
The image of Queen Elizabeth II on the face of these coins link the currency of New Zealand to the UK, my place of birth. For me these metal shapes represent the destructive power of humanity over nature and their fellow human beings in seeking material wealth. They exist because man mined metal from the Earth. Gold and silver are symbolic of the Sun and the Moon all three are essential for life as we know it; what a paradox.
(1) John Dawson. ‘Conifer–broadleaf forests – Loss of conifer–broadleaf forests’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 8-Jul-13
(2) Joanna Orwin. ‘Kauri forest’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 11-Jun-13
Imagine losing six months……
I have an affinity with Autumn, however to me October = Autumn, this is the month I was born, it is when the trees in the northern hemisphere change their colours and shed them for Winter. This is the time that there is still a chance of an Indian Summer, harvest festival, Halloween and the first sign of Christmas decorations.
When we moved to Australia in January 1998, we left Winter in Birmingham to be catapulted into Summer in Sydney and before I knew it was Autumn again, but in April. No matter how much I cherish those lost 26 weeks, it is not enough to return to the grey country.