In my last post, I described my zig-zag wander, taking a left turn and then a right, and then a left and so on. My original wander took me from Karori, through Northland and into the Botanic Gardens, where my route took me in a large circle, ending up back at the place where I had entered the Gardens.
At that point, I could have carried on and followed the same circular route again, or maybe I would have ended up somewhere completely different, but decided to quit while I was ahead and headed home. A few weekends ago however, I decided I would try my zigzag through the Gardens again and see where I came out.
I set off from the Glenmore Street entrance, on an autumnal Saturday afternoon, heading up to the Magpie Lawn, and following what seemed from memory to be the same route – along some meandering paths, down some steps past the back of a house, across a stream, along part of the Pukatea bushwalk and past the children’s playground.
However, around here, something changed. Following winding paths in the gardens, it can be difficult to be sure whether you are turning off or continuing straight on, or what to do when several paths diverge at once. On my original walk I looped around and ended up back at the children’s playground, but this time I found myself in the Australian Garden, heading up towards the Carter Observatory.
From the Observatory, I began circumnavigating the outer edge of the Gardens like a planet on a wobbly orbit. I kept thinking I was going to leave the Gardens altogether, but each time, I would end up turning back into them.
My wander took me past the ‘Body to Soul’ sculpture. The sculpture charts a journey between the words ‘body’ and ‘soul’ by changing one letter in every word: BODY, BONY, BOND, BEND, SEND, SEED, SEER, SEAR, SOAR, SOUR, SOUL. I can’t pass the sculpture without walking up the black granite steps, and I always want the next word after SOAR to be SOAP. It occurred to me, that, a bit like the difference a single turning had made to my wander, at any point in this word sequence you could choose to change a different letter, creating a different word, and ending up somewhere else altogether.
Which is like life. Where often it’s the not knowing where you will end up that makes it so hard to make decisions.
I continued on my wander and ended up down at the Lady Norwood Rose Garden where I started zig-zagging through the rose beds, stopping of course, to smell the roses. I ended up at the circular duck pond in the middle, going in a clockwise direction, needing to take a right turn and realising that this was an impossibility within the rules I had set myself. And so, both zig-zag wanders in the Gardens ended up being circular, but with the second walk following a considerably smaller circle than the first.
Eventually I broke away. As I walked towards the bus stop, I remembered that I had walked here on a very similar autumnal Saturday afternoon a year ago when I was just starting out with this blog, which was another kind of circularity.
When I got home, I started thinking about the body to soul sculpture and spent the evening obsessively playing with word sequences. I found a shorter and more depressing journey for the body:
BODY – BODE – BONE – LONE – LOSE – LOST – LUST – DUST
WALK – WALL – PALL – PALE – POLE – POSE – POST – LOST
But from there, it could be an even shorter journey home:
LOST – LOSE – LOPE – HOPE – HOME
And reflecting on the circular nature of my walk, I came up with this:
FORD – FORM