They came our oldest friends from their farm in Canterbury, to the city for dinner at the end of a long, hot, January nor’ west afternoon. We ate outdoors on a terrace beside a lawn that sloped down to a stream. The meal was salmon with salads, roasted vegetables, wine, berries, meringues. This felt significant, sharing good times again with good people.
Earlier that afternoon I had noticed that, occasionally, memories of better times in the broken city have begun surfacing. This was reassuring. I had thought the earthquakes had damaged my remembering process irrevocably and that it was no longer possible to remember back to childhood and youth without being overwhelmed by subsequent images of the more recent destruction and horror. Perhaps as the city rebuilds and as optimism about its future slowly grows the pain might lift somewhat.