A Beautiful Canterbury Sunset

Well, it’s one week today since this dreadful earthquake hit and I feel like I live in another world entirely. It still doesn’t feel real, and I am dreading the next few months – as every day there will be a new unpleasant surprise –  a favourite building that didn’t make it, or a friend’s friend’s partner that was lost, or stories of hardship and heart break. There will also be more stories of incredible bravery, selflessness, and amazing escapes. Our thoughts and actions will also turn to learning why there was so much devastation to some buildings and to how we move forward and begin again, creating a bright future for all who love this amazing city.

The other day I said to my partner Bruce that during the earthquake it felt like the earth was ‘angry with us and not wanting us here any-more’.  If you experienced the quake, then you will know exactly what I was feeling. I really thought the house was going to fall down the side of our hill as it shook so violently (half of the house is on poles). The earth might not like us very much right now, but the sky put on a delightful show for us the other night – it was beautiful and we all stopped to watch the colours change and the light slowly fade. As we still have no power, we have become very ruled by light, it dictates when we go home at night, what time we go to sleep and what time we wake up. We seem to be sleeping from about 9pm til 7am – I think our body clocks are resetting themselves and I also think that we both badly need the rest.

I’ve got my nightly routine now – light the candles about 8pm, place the cell-phone in the same spot on my beside table, place the torch in the same spot and upright so I can grab it quickly, make sure the space to our back door is clear of things, wash my teeth using a mixture of mouth wash and toothpaste, and count my blessings that I survived and so did those close to me. I have some survival guilt – probably like many others in the city – asking why me? Just dumb luck really. I’d like to say that after September’s quake we were ultra ready for this one, but other than having a lot of water on hand we hadn’t really done much extra. But we have fared well – mainly because we like to go hiking (tramping in NZ) – so we’ve got several gas cookers, head lamps, wind up radio / torch, dehydrated food, torches, emergency blankets, hand sanitiser, general camping equipment and so forth. We also always have a lot of canned food on hand – especially spaghetti and tinned fruit for some reason. We also have amazing neighbours who are all looking out for each other and who turn off their generators before it gets dark 🙂

For those that have suffered the most I can understand your strong urge to leave Christchurch and never return. But if you can and are able to stay, please do. If you have ever played Sim City you will know that you are in trouble as the ‘mayor’ when your people start leaving. If you can play a part in the re-build of Christchurch (no matter how small) then stay. But if you are so traumatised by the events that you can no longer get by and normal daily tasks are beyond you, do what is best for you and your family and go, but always keep a part of Canterbury in your heart.

Also, remember, that ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’.

Kia kaha


  • 6 years ago

    great sentiments michelle and i totally hear you – and agree with everything you’ve said – the earth did feel angry, im sleeping to the rhythm of the sunset/sunrise (without the candles tho – i worry they might get knocked over, id hate to survive a quake only to get killed by fire!) and disliking how some people are quick to abandon this great city – i understand some are of a nervous disposition or have suffered beyond imagination, but there are others who just cant be bothered being a part of the rebuild – maybe they shouldnt be allowed back? take care out there!

  • 6 years ago

    Spectacular shot, made perfect by the bird on the left. So sad to hear people are leaving Christchurch and do hope the city starts to get re-built soon. This must be such a difficult time for everyone.

  • 6 years ago

    I admire both your stamina and courage. Thank you for sharing both your activities and your thoughts.

  • 6 years ago

    I read with great interest your blog post today. This is my first visit but certainly not my last. I will continue to pray for you and your friends there and will come by to see how you all are doing. And BTW, this is a stunning photograph. IT is HOPE personified.

  • Mo
    6 years ago

    That beautiful sunset would make the day seem worthwhile. I do hope life can return to more normality very soon.

    Tomorrow night there is a vigil in London at Westminster Cathederal

    We are all thinking of you

  • victoria
    6 years ago

    keeping new zealand in our hearts and prayers.

  • 6 years ago

    A haunting sky, well captured.
    Your thoughtful commentary and images over the last few days are deeply moving, and I admire your positive attitude and gritty determination. Wishing you all the best in the part you play to keep this beautiful city alive.

  • 6 years ago

    It must have all been incredibly scary! Thanks for your blog – it gives an idea of what individual people must have experienced. I hope that all gets back to normal soon.

  • 6 years ago

    So glad you are still here – agree totally with Jilly about the bird – terrific shot.

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