I’m creating a virtual star chart, to record my progress in Dry July. The star for making it through Tuesday 20 July without touching the demon drink is the night sky wheeling above the Church of the Good Shepherd in the Mackenzie country.
(Description: dusk to dawn time-lapse camera sequence of the southern hemisphere sky.)
Take a minute and twenty seven seconds to watch this. It’s worth it.
The Mackenzie country runs down the eastern side of the Southern Alps in New Zealand’s South Island. It’s very sparsely populated, so there’s very little light pollution. The air is gloriously clear and clean, and the night skies are stunning.
The Church of the Good Shepherd stands on the edge of Lake Tekapo, a glacial lake that has the most improbable turquoise colour. It’s hard to find an on-line image that reproduces the colour: this one comes close.
(Description: Flowering Russell lupins in the foreground, greeny-blue lake in the middle ground, summer mountains with some snow on them in the background, blue sky overhead.)
I dipped a toe in the water once, and promptly took it out again. Even in the height of summer, it is icy cold.
Outside the church, there is a statue of a sheepdog, in tribute to all the hardy sheepdogs “without the help of which the grazing of this mountainous country would be impossible.” When my husband and I last visited the Mackenzie country, way back in 1997, we sent a postcard of the statue to my brother’s German shepherd, saying “Hey!” I’m not overly fond of dogs, but I do like this statue, in part because my mother’s father and brothers and many of my cousins are sheep dog triallists, very successfully so. Even though I grew up in town, at family gatherings and through the family grapevine, I would hear of this one or that who had a promising pup, or an excellent dog, and from time to time see the dogs working with the sheep. It was amazing to see the skill with which my uncles and cousins worked with their dogs. Stars in their field, into the third generation.
Many thanks to Ele for letting me know about the Youtube clip by e-mail. She also linked to it on her own blog, Homepaddock.