|From dennisbehm on Flickr|
Here it is. Happy listening.
|From dennisbehm on Flickr|
|Chasing the Long White Cloud|
by Susan Krueger-Barber
From December 1998 to December 2000, I served as an LDS missionary in New Zealand. While I was there, I visited cities and towns between Taupo in the middle of the North Island and Kaitaia in the Northland and met people from many countries and cultural backgrounds. As happens with many missionaries and other travelers, I was transformed in the process.And my entries on this blog and this blog and this blog represent the ways I'm still pursuing that understanding, still chasing the long white cloud.
Of all the cultures I encountered in New Zealand, Maori (MAH-ohree; the Maori r is rolled) culture has most influenced me. I've held it in mind since I returned home and many of its ideas have become part of my worldview and my writing, my poetry especially. Some years ago, for example, I began using an image from Maori mythology to give shape to a growing fascination with people and their interactions, societies, cultures, kinships, and texts. The image: someone chasing a long white cloud. It comes from the Maori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa (AH-oh-TAY-uh-ROW-uh), which means “the land of the long white cloud.” Legend has it that when Kupe (COO-pay), Maori voyager and New Zealand’s fabled founder, approached the islands later named New Zealand, he knew land lay ahead because a long bank of cumulus hovered in the distance.
Just as chasing that cloudbank brought Kupe a land for his people, that people and their land opened my eyes to the diverse possibilities of the human sea. I’ve been searching for those possibilities ever since. Every time I think I’ve come close to approaching some solid ground of human understanding, though, the cloudbank dissipates, then reappears over a different, distant island, compelling me to explore onward. Chasing the long white cloud, then, has become my metaphor for this persistent attempt to understand—or at least to try to understand—cultures, peoples, and paradoxes beyond my personal horizon. The entries in this section represent ways I’ve pursued that understanding via an engagement with my experiences in New Zealand.
What we have here [in this biographer’s interactions with Silverstein’s estate]—if you’ll forgive the military metaphor—is but one front in a larger war against the rigorous analysis of fact. It’s part of a war against the presentation of evidence, a war against thoughtful, good-faith argumentation and conscientious debate. It’s another front in the larger war against truth. Which side are you on?
|Cover images by Susan Krueger-Barber.|
Cover design by Glen Nelson.
|Limited edition objects designed and bound by Glen Nelson.|