“All the things we can’t undo”

Full moon in evening sky over motorway. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

“No boy, don’t speak now you just drive.” Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Like the half-light that exists between night and day, there is a time in relationships when love is neither thriving nor quite gone.

Drive  — the title track of singer Bic Runga‘s first album captures the feeling of longing to hold on to what is good, even as darkness closes in.

I know it’s late
Now I know I ought to go
Ride in your car now
But please don’t drop me home
My head so heavy
Could this be all a dream
Promise me maybes
And say things you don’t mean
Let rain fall from concrete-coloured skies
No boy, don’t speak
Now you just drive
Drive
Drive
Take me through
Make me feel alive
Alive
When I ride with you
Keep my heart turning
On axles around you
Keep our love burning
Just like it used to do
Now just for us
They could play our favourite tune
Let’s not discuss all these things we can’t undo
Let rain fall from concrete-colored skies
No boy, don’t speak now
You just drive
Drive
Drive
Speed me through
Make me feel alive
Alive
When I ride with you
Let rain fall from concrete-colored skies
No boy, don’t speak now
You just drive

Drive is also one of the songs used in the play Daffodils by Rochelle Bright. Daffodils is a love story told as much through its use of Kiwi music as theatre.

Here is a clip of Drive, from Daffodils with Colleen Davis performing.

And here is Bic Runga performing the song.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme this week is half-light.

 

 

Wallflowers and set dressing: behind the scenes at the Wintergarden

View obscured. Plants in the tropical house at the Auckland Wintergardens seen from the outside. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

View obscured. Plants in the tropical house at the Auckland Wintergarden, seen from the outside. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

I seem to be developing an obsession with the Auckland Wintergardens. More particularly, with the interface between flora and architecture, interior and exterior, exhibition and concealment. A few weeks ago, I found myself pondering the display of exotic plants for human entertainment, or:

the human impulse to capture nature and to use our considerable intelligence and skill to maintain species of life in artificial environments made to simulate their own, in order that we may enjoy those species on our own terms. (Nature Confined)

Yesterday, driven from the pavilions by a busload of very noisy tourists, I found myself thinking about the plants pressed up against the building’s exterior windows. From inside, these are the wallflowers, the backdrop to carefully managed displays. They are the hardest-to-reach and the least likely to be stars of the show.

Anthurium leaves behind glass; tropical house at the Auckland Wintergardens. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

Anthurium leaves behind glass; tropical house at the Auckland Wintergardens. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

The pavilions themselves are showing their age. Built almost 90 years ago, the Wintergardens are like a once-majestic theatre — still putting on a dazzling show for the visitors, but behind the scenes it’s all starting to look a bit faded.

'round the back. Area behind the Tropical Pavilion, Auckland Wintergarden. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

’round the back. Behind the tropical house, Auckland Wintergarden. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

I’ve always rather liked the theatrical metaphor for life, drawn from the sociology of Erving Goffman (1922-82). The language of theatre makes sense to me as a way of understanding everyday life (performance, audience, script, props, costumes — even the distinctions between front-of-house and back-stage).

And while we each enact personal performances, we do so within our society, where politics, culture and morality are themselves performed. In this social theatre, some people, groups and ideas are given starring roles. Others are marginalised; relegated to the chorus, to non-speaking parts, or even denied the stage altogether.

As both audience and players, it is our responsibility to understand the staged and constructed nature of social life, and not to forget those squeezed to the fringes — only visible if we really look.

This post was written for Sally D’s mobile photography challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.